Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has opened on what he has told his players after the team were knocked out of the Champions League for the second season in a row.
The Catalans had been expected to make an impact in Europe after a summer of big spending but have once again failed to make it out of the group stages and will drop into the Europa League.
Xavi must now pick his players up ahead of their next match against Valencia in La Liga and told a pre-match press conference what he had said in the dressing room to rouse his players, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“We have talked about changing the chip and that we are in a good dynamic in La Liga,” he explained. “We have been self-critical but we have been lacking in the big games. We have to turn the page and think about La Liga. We are fighting for the title and this is the dynamic to follow. We are united the changing room and tomorrow is a great moment to react.”
Barcelona’s only defeat in La Liga this season has come at Real Madrid, and the team followed up that disappointment with big victories over Villarreal and Athletic. Xavi now needs another response from his side to keep their title challenge on track.
Xavi Expecting Tough Valencia Test
Xavi is expecting a tough test from Valencia at Mestalla. Gennaro Gattuso’s side will also need a result after going down 2-1 to Real Mallorca last time out in the Spanish top flight.
“It will be an attacking, intense and very defensive opposition. It’s a team that pushes really well. They attack really well, it will be exciting for the fans, the coaches will have to suffer a bit more,” Xavi explained. “But we shouldn’t forget we’re in a really good dynamic in the league. We need to move on from the Champions League.”
Barcelona will have fond memories of their last visit to Mestalla. The Catalans ran out 4-1 winners in La Liga back in February.
Will Barcelona Be Patient?
Of course anything other than a victory against Valencia will put more pressure on Xavi after the club’s European disappointment. The coach has already been publicly backed by president Joan Laporta and says he remains confident he can bring success back to Barcelona.
“We will not stop working and I feel total confidence in the project. It is not what we expected. We have very high expectations and we have lost the Champions League,” he added. “We are not in a good situation, we have to put up with the criticism and keep working. I have the confidence of the president, the board, Mateu and Jordi. I have no choice but to continue working.”
Barcelona play just three more La Liga games before the competition pauses in November for the 2022 World Cup. The Catalans take on Almeria and Osasuna after Saturday’s match.