Xavi does not believe Barcelona are in crisis ahead of Alaves clash

By Sports Desk November 11, 2023

Xavi has insisted Barcelona are not in crisis as they look to get their campaign back on track against Alaves.

Pressure has mounted on the Barca boss after an El Clasico defeat was followed by an unconvincing win over Real Sociedad and a midweek Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Reports in the Catalan media claimed the squad had a players-only meeting on Wednesday night to discuss their issues.

But Xavi, whose side trail LaLiga leaders Girona by four points and still top their Champions League group, believes he faced bigger problems last season when he also came in for criticism before leading the club to the Spanish title.

“I had the worst moment as a coach last year,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“What is happening now is not a crisis or anything like that.

“I have experienced terrible crises here and this is not it.

“You almost get used to criticism. This is Barca and you have to accept criticism.

“We have had two bad games and you have to be honest. We haven’t been up to par.”

Xavi is confident the players remain united and believes he has diagnosed the problem.

He said: “We’ve detected the issue. We have to get back to positional play and be more meticulous than ever. That’s how we’ll get better.

“The players are ready. They’re mentally prepared. This is a fantastic group.

“I’ve been in a lot of dressing rooms and this is one of the healthiest and most united I’ve ever seen. We are highly motivated.”

Xavi will again be without the injured Frenkie de Jong on Sunday, while his fellow midfielder Gavi serves a one-match ban after picking up five yellow cards.

But Pedri is “100 per cent”, according to Xavi, and could make his first start since August after coming through two substitute appearances against Real Sociedad and Shakhtar.

Key to Barca’s hopes of hitting form could be getting Robert Lewandowski back among the goals.

The Poland striker is in the middle of his worst goal drought in over a decade having not scored in his last six matches.

Xavi said: “He is in 100 per cent condition. He’s affected by the lack of positional play.

“We haven’t attacked well and we didn’t look after Robert like how we used to do.”

Alaves sit 14th in LaLiga and their only away win this season came against seventh-tier opponents Deportiva Murcia in the Copa del Rey.

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