Xavi: Barcelona must be 'humble' to improve in off-season

By Sports Desk May 22, 2022

Barcelona boss Xavi asserted the club must be "humble" after they marked the end of the season with a 2-0 loss to Villarreal on Sunday.

Goals from Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez handed the seventh-placed Villarreal their first LaLiga win at Camp Nou since 2008 and punctuated Barcelona's trophy-less season, finishing 13 points off the title-winning Real Madrid.

The fact Barca even finished second provided some cause for satisfaction given their start to the season, after winning only four of the opening 13 league games and sitting ninth in November, when Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman.

The 42-year-old believes, amid an expectant fan base, the time to get to work and transform the squad to his liking has officially come, now Barca have reached the end of the season.

"I keep the minutes in which people have cheered," Xavi said post-game. "It is normal, the public does not like to lose. But taking stock, we have to be satisfied. We have to be humble and see reality. Now the work of the office begins.

"We have to change things. We have to opt for titles. We have to change things. We have to improve and strengthen ourselves."

After only managing Al-Sadd for two years before taking on the coaching role at his former club, Xavi has experienced a baptism by fire upon his return to Europe, with crises gripping his boyhood club both on and off the pitch.

The Blaugrana have experienced positive and difficult moments in his first coaching role in Europe, defeating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu but also falling meekly in the Europa League at the hands of eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

On a personal level, Xavi is in a sense satisfied he has aided Barcelona in qualifying for the Champions League and salvaging their season, but is the adamant his squad must improve.

"I knew that it was coming at a complicated and difficult moment," he said. "We have improved, but not enough. We have played brilliant games, but we have to be more reliable. I am here to add value, now we have to work for next year. We have to be positive.

"We've saved a season that could have been disastrous. I'm satisfied on a personal level. We came from one of the worst moments in the club's history. A lot of things have to be changed.

"This season has gone as it has gone. The coach has changed. And now we cannot come second. We have to reinforce ourselves very well. We have to compete. We have to change many things."

Related items

  • Real Madrid stay eight points clear after narrow win over Mallorca Real Madrid stay eight points clear after narrow win over Mallorca

    Aurelien Tchouameni’s deflected strike was enough to secure Real Madrid a 1-0 win at Mallorca and keep them out on front at the top of LaLiga.

    France midfielder Tchouameni broke the deadlock early in the second half as Real extended their unbeaten league run to 25 matches and after arch-rivals Barcelona’s win later on Saturday night, the gap remains eight points.

    The two sides meet in El Clasico next Sunday and Barca also remain in top form as they made it six straight wins in all competitions after Joao Felix’s first-half overhead kick secured all three points in Cadiz.

    Barcelona were indebted to goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for their win as the German goalkeeper made two crucial saves to deny Cadiz pair Javi Hernandez and Diadie Samassekou.

    Antoine Griezmann scored twice to help keep Atletico Madrid on course for the final Champions League spot after a 3-1 home win against Girona, who remain third.

    Griezmann’s first-half penalty cancelled out Artem Dovbyk’s early opener for Girona and Angel Correa headed Atletico into the lead in stoppage time before the break.

    France forward Griezmann added his 12th league goal of the season early in the second period as Girona slipped to their fifth defeat in eight league matches.

    Rayo Vallecano edged six points clear of the relegation zone after being held 0-0 at home by Getafe.

    In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich got their domestic campaign back on track as second-half goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Thomas Muller sealed a 2-0 home win against Cologne.

    It was a crucial win for Bayern, who had lost their previous two league matches, as Champions League rivals Stuttgart, Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund all won.

    Dani Olmo, Benjamin Sesko and Lois Openda were on target for Leipzig in their 3-0 home win against Wolfsburg and Dortmund held on to win 2-1 at Borussia Monchengladbach despite the second-half dismissal of Germany winger Karim Adeyemi.

    Marcel Sabitzer gave Dortmund the lead and then converted a penalty before Max Wober hit back for the hosts before the interval.

    Adeyemi’s second yellow card left Dortmund with 10 men for most of the second period, but they held on.

    Third-placed Stuttgart extended their unbeaten run to nine matches with a 3-0 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

    Serhou Guirassy, Deniz Undav and Jamie Leweling were all on target in the first half for Stuttgart, who are level on points with Bayern.

    Mainz boosted their survival hopes with a 4-1 home win over Hoffenheim, which made it 10 points from their last four matches and lifted them to within a point of Bochum, who drew 1-1 against Heidenheim.

    In Serie A, Juventus failed to close the gap on second-placed Milan after they were held 0-0 by derby rivals Torino.

    Juve have won only one of their last six domestic league matches and are five points behind Milan and 19 adrift of leaders Inter, with the top two both in action on Sunday.

    Fourth-placed Bologna failed to capitalise on Juve’s dropped points as they were also held to a goalless stalemate at home against Monza, while Nicola Sansone’s late goal clinched Lecce a 1-0 home win against Empoli.

    In Ligue 1, Reims’ hopes of European football next season were dealt a blow as they lost 3-1 at Strasbourg and Rennes had a setback in their bid for a top-six finish after losing 2-1 at home to Toulouse.

  • Brilliant Joao Felix finish secures all three points for Barcelona at Cadiz Brilliant Joao Felix finish secures all three points for Barcelona at Cadiz

    Joao Felix’s overhead kick sealed Barcelona a 1-0 win at lowly Cadiz and lifted his side back to within eight points of LaLiga leaders Real Madrid.

    The Portugal forward converted with a bicycle kick following a first-half corner and with the help of two crucial saves from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barca extended their winning run in all competitions to six matches.

    Barca, who edged the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final 3-2 against Paris St Germain in midweek, are now unbeaten in 13 before next weekend’s El Clasico at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.

    Cadiz had boosted their survival hopes by winning two of their previous three in LaLiga and they had their chances, but they remain three points from safety.

    Felix’s strike lit-up a first half of few clear-cut chances, in which Cadiz went close to taking a 22nd-minute lead when Javi Hernandez’s drilled angled effort forced Ter Stegen into a sharp near-post save.

    But Barca edged in front in the 37th minute with their first real effort on goal following a corner.

    Sergi Roberto headed the ball on and Joao Felix swivelled to send a bicycle kick inside Cadiz goalkeeper Conan Ledesma’s right-hand post for his sixth league goal of the season.

    Barca should have extended their lead shortly before half-time when the ball broke to Fermin Lopez on the right edge of the box, but his goalbound shot was brilliantly blocked on the line by Cadiz defender Victor Chust.

    Cadiz thought they had made an ideal start to the second period as Juanmi turned home Iza Carcelen’s low ball into the box, but the effort was ruled out as the striker was clearly offside.

    Chust then headed narrowly wide for the home side, whose appeals for a penalty soon after when the ball appeared to hit Barca defender Pau Cubarsi on the arm were waved away, with the incident not reviewed by VAR.

    Felix went close to doubling Barca’s lead through his first-time effort from Ferran Torres’ cross as the action flowed.

    Barca were indebted to Ter Stegen with 10 minutes remaining as the German goalkeeper’s flying save from Diadie Samassekou’s thumping long-range shot preserved their slender lead.

    Following Real’s 1-0 win at Mallorca earlier on Saturday, Barca closed the gap back to eight points ahead of next Sunday’s showdown between LaLiga’s top two.

  • Boreham Wood boost survival bid with win at Aldershot Boreham Wood boost survival bid with win at Aldershot

    Boreham Wood gave their National League survival hopes a major boost as they made it back-to-back wins by beating Aldershot 3-0 on the road.

    Lee Ndlovu and Erico Sousa’s penalty put the Wood in control at the interval and Kabongo Tshimanga added a third goal in the second half to lift them to within two points of 20th-placed Ebbsfleet with two games remaining.

    The visitors, who halted a six-game losing run last week with victory over Wealdstone, went ahead in the 10th minute when Ndlovu drove into the box and fired home a low finish.

    Sousa converted from the spot after Shots midfielder Ryan Glover had tripped David Agbontohoma and Tshimanga applied a neat finish in the 67th minute after running on to a ball over the top.

    Aldershot had their chances, Josh Stokes and Jack Barham were denied by superb Nathan Ashmore saves, but their faltering play-off hopes suffered another setback as their winless run extended to six matches.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.