Barcelona’s Xavi allegedly lost it with his players—and Robert Lewandowski in particular—during the match against Almeria due to their lack of effort.

With 23 first-half opportunities and 41 overall, Barcelona have the most squandered opportunities of any club in the top five European leagues this season. At least, this is what Opta claims.

Throughout December, the La Liga reigning winners enjoyed several scoring opportunities. They have only managed to score nine goals across all competitions.

The two underperforming sides that Xavi‘s players faced in a few of those matches were formidable opponents. First up was Valencia, who have been in a constant state of crisis since the beginning of November and have failed to win a single league game.

Also, the Blaugrana were on the verge of losing all three points against Almeria, who now occupy the lowest spot in the league. Amidst it all, Barcelona ended group play with a nail-biting 3-2 loss to Royal Antwerp of Belgium.

Of course, they had already secured their Champions League last 16 spot. The outcome didn’t change that Antwerp would have finished bottom in Group H after losing their previous five matches.

Just two goals in December for Lewandowski

The Blaugrana’s striker, Robert Lewandowski, has been one of the players criticized for his team’s poor goalscoring statistics. During his last six games, the Pole has failed to find the back of the net.

To make matters worse, he didn’t take a single shot during the Champions League encounter against Royal Antwerp. During games, the veteran has often voiced his dissatisfaction with his teammates’ lack of attention to him.

Along these lines, he has protested about how he is unable to take a leadership role due to the lack of opportunities presented to him. So, Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez seems to have had enough of his top player.

Frustration with Barcelona performances is building
Frustration with Barcelona performances is building

Frustration with Barcelona performances is building

What did Xavi reportedly say to his players?

Xavi has a history of scolding his players for specific errors. However, during Wednesday’s 3-2 victory against Almeria, he was quite critical of their mentality from the start of halftime forward.

The Catalans continued their season-long pattern of rustiness and threw their championship defense into chaos. Even though they were playing at home, the reigning champions had trouble getting going against last-place Almeria.

Raphinha put the side up 33 minutes into the game, but Leo Baptistao pulled one back only four minutes before halftime. It was clear that Xavi was fuming at the break because he made two substitutions. Andreas Christensen, who was already on the books, and the ineffectual Joao Felix were both benched.

Though Barcelona ultimately prevailed, Xavi continued to criticize the team thereafter. Thus, there’s a feeling that the mood within the club is far from upbeat.

With the forceful substitution at halftime, the Spaniard delivered what he described as the harshest team talk of his management career. His words were harsh, but his deeds spoke louder than words.

According to Catalan outlet Mundo Deportivo, he reportedly scolded Robert Lewandowski as well. The 43-year-old coach has consistently stood by him despite his dismal performance this season.

“It can’t be! It can’t be! I want you to run like pigs!”, Xavi was reportedly heard launching an obnoxious tirade at the ex-Bayern star from the locker room. “Let’s see if you start running a damn time!”, he shouted.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire