Barcelona are coming off a big victory against rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey. Despite a 1-0 first-leg win, the Catalan club has received criticism for the performance on the pitch.
Barca managed just 35% possession in the game, the lowest figure by the team in eight years.
Coach claims winning matches not enough at club
Club manager Xavi addressed the disapproval on Saturday. “Winning is not enough here.
You beat Real Madrid 1-0, and it’s not convincing because [of losing possession]. The other way around, it’s a national holiday,”
Xavi said in a press conference ahead of a matchup with Valencia. “That’s why I say that Barca is the most difficult club in the world.”
“I said this last season, and I was hammered for it. At Barca, you have to win and be convincing. That is our objective. But we are up against the LaLiga and Champions League holders. If they press you high, it’s difficult.”
“Only in one game and maybe another did we not have the dominance of the game since I’ve been Barcelona coach,” Xavi continued.
“We didn’t know how to get out of their high pressure. We have to improve without the ball. But we look to generate things with the ball and defend against them with the ball. We work [on applying] high pressure and [adopting a] medium block.”
Continued success should quiet concerns
Nevertheless, Barca take advantage in the Copa del Rey semifinals. The victory against Real even came on the road as well. The two rivals finish the two-legged fixture on April 5th in Barcelona.
Along with the cup run, Barca also top the LaLiga table at the moment. The 26-time Spanish top-flight winners currently have a seven-point advantage over Real. Collecting both domestic trophies will ease any issues over the low possession stat against Real on Thursday.
Photo credit: IMAGO / NurPhoto
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