Barcelona manager Xavi insists his side must keep their spirits high, despite suffering a heartbreaking late 3-2 defeat to El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia.
Federico Valverde’s goal in the first half of extra-time was enough to see Los Blancos advance to the final of the Spanish Super Cup, where they will face the winner of tonight’s match between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.
However, Xavi’s side showed character, twice coming from behind through Luuk de Jong and Ansu Fati.
Transfers
Christensen pulled out of Chelsea FA Cup final squad ahead of Barca switch - Paper Round
15/05/2022 AT 22:49
Forward Ferran Torres also made his long-awaited debut for the club following his recent move from Manchester City, having finally been registered earlier in the week.
But the 21-year-old failed to make an impact on the scoreline before being substituted at half-time.
Despite winning just two of their last five in all competitions, Xavi insists there is much cause for optimism within his squad as they look to rebuild following his appointment at the Camp Nou in November.
“It was clear to me that today was a day for courage, for responsibility towards the ball, a day not to feel insecure,” he said. “Today is a day to keep our spirits high despite having lost.
We go back home sad, angry, upset, because we did feel insecure. The first 25 minutes, we played full of insecurities and that's not the way to play football.
“We need to play with personality, with responsibility, and we can not lose so many balls. Those were our mistakes.”
Barcelona are next in action in the Copa del Rey next Wednesday, before focus quickly returns to league action, with a trip to relegation-threatened Alaves.
They currently sit a disappointing sixth in the La Liga table, 17 points adrift of runaway leaders Real Madrid, having played a game less.
Speaking after their thrilling El Clasico defeat, Xavi added: “I have contradictory feelings. I have a very bad feeling for having lost because we've touched the victory, but on the other hand we can be proud of our game, of dominating Real Madrid in many different moments of the match.
“We dominated Real Madrid in their area, we pressed them and we had the victory just there and lost it.
That's a sad feeling. We feel angry, powerless. But we can be proud.
“I told them that if there's a good way to lose it's the way we lost today.”
Liga
'It got too much' - Toxic Mourinho relationship played part in Guardiola's Barca exit, says Pique
13/05/2022 AT 09:28
Liga
Araujo taken to hospital and conscious after sickening clash of heads
10/05/2022 AT 21:59