Barcelona must work 'with humility' - Xavi critical after Galatasaray draw

By Sports Desk March 10, 2022

Xavi insisted his side must remain humble after their goalless home draw with Galatasaray on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League’s last-16.

Barcelona characteristically dominated possession but failed to break down Galatasaray, who are currently 12th in the Turkish Super Lig.

Having won the Champions League three times as a player, Xavi hinted his side has to be mentally stronger, despite being the better of the two teams. This comes amid the uncommon scenario of Barcelona playing in Europe’s second-tier club competition, after being knocked out of the Champions League earlier this season.

"I already said that this is Europe and teams are here on merit. It [the Europa League] is a difficult, complicated competition and we have to continue to work hard, and with humility," he said.

"We were better than Galatasaray, the result isn’t good and perhaps a little unfair. Perhaps we were too euphoric and expectant, and winning is hard. Nothing was gained, but nothing lost. We expected to win the match, but they made it very difficult for us."

Xavi, who this week welcomed three months in charge of the embattled Catalan giants, was evidently unhappy with the first half. Barcelona held 66.9 percent possession over the opening 45 minutes, but only had as many shots as their opponents in the penalty area, with two for the half.

Frenkie de Jong was notably shifted from the deepest midfield position, with Sergio Busquets coming on straight after the interval, along with Ousmane Dembele and Gerard Pique in a triple substitution.

Further introductions for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Luuk de Jong failed to break the stalemate, but the threat Barcelona created in the second half was still relatively encouraging for the 42-year-old.

"It’s not a good result, playing at home and dominating the game in that way. It’s true we didn’t reach recent levels," he said. "We were a bit dense, especially in the first half, but we were better in the second. We generated more.

"We need to attack better and be clearer with the final ball…Galatasaray were phenomenal, they didn’t let us finish phases. It’s a shame because we generated less than in other games but we did enough to win this game."

Barcelona host Osasuna on Sunday in LaLiga, before travelling to Istanbul for the second leg with Galatasaray next Thursday.

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