Barcelona slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the season’s first El Clasico. The loss sees Barça move into the second spot, and register a defeat in the league for the first time this season.
Talking to the media after the game, Barça coach Xavi Hernandez reacted to the team’s performance, criticising certain aspects of the game and urging his players to do well in the coming matches.
“I don’t feel happy about anything, the feeling is bad,” Xavi said. “Nothing comes out of this game despite faith and self-respect. Today’s match was a very good opportunity to continue leading but we came out empty-handed, we had options for a draw but we didn’t take advantage of our moments.”
The Barcelona coach went on to criticise his team’s lack of defensive solidity and efficiency in front of goal.
“I feel bad and frustrated, we weren’t as aggressive as we should have, defensively we weren’t good and in transitions too, we didn’t have a good match, yes but there were our moments, today we missed several things and we have to criticize ourselves.
“We talked about stopping the rebounds and transitions, and in their first attempt, they managed to score against us. We must criticize ourselves, we know internally we are not well, we are in a bad dynamic and we have to change that now, we have to improve in efficiency,” he added.
Xavi, though, offered some silver lining, admitting that his team is still in transition and it is only October, meaning Barcelona have more than enough to time to make a comeback, as far as the title race is concerned.
“We are in the process of building, we will fight for championships, it is still October and we have to make some changes,” he said. “We are in a negative dynamic, fortunately, it’s only three points.”
“The positive thing today is what happened in the second half. We played with enthusiasm and were able to beat Real Madrid when we were looking for the second goal,” he added.
Xavi backed his team to perform well in the games to come, implying that it is only the cycle of football.
“This is football, now we have to recover for the next match”, Xavi said, before adding, “I won’t ever blame the players. It won’t happen. I am the captain of this ship and I take responsibility.”
One would assume the difference between the two sides would be intensity – or the lack thereof, from Barcelona. However, Xavi believed it was experience and maturity.
“I don’t think Madrid beat us in intensity, but they have in maturity. They know how to compete better than us, they are a more accomplished side and a more mature team than us at the moment.”