·29 November 2023
·29 November 2023
Barcelona lifted a weight off their shoulders on Tuesday night after beating Porto 2-1 at Montjuic, a result which secured qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League after two years in which they failed to do so.
After the match, Xavi was delighted with his side’s response having fallen behind in the first half.
“Very happy and happy for the team and the club. We needed it, above all, after two years of experiencing the misfortune of playing in the Europa League. We played a good game against a great team. We reacted well, with winning mentality. The equalising goal was very good for us and we were at a good level in the second half. We have progressively gone from less to more. We took a very important step forward, not only because of the qualification. The play was good. We won with confidence,” he told Sport.
In terms of the keys to mounting a comeback, Xavi noted not only Cancelo’s excellent performance, but the desire to try things.
“We had to dare more, look behind the man who was putting pressure on us when the ball was released, also find the free man, which was Cancelo…”
Nevertheless Xavi was not getting ahead of himself either.
“Problems are never solved at Barca,” he laughed.
“I feel satisfaction, rather than liberated, because I wasn’t feeling cornered, the feeling is one of joy and tranquility. It’s a day to congratulate the club and the team because this is the process of the project.”
Looking ahead to their crunch match with Atletico Madrid on Sunday, Xavi demanded more of the same.
“I hope we have continuity that we have seen during the second half, not only in the result, but also in the play. I hope it is a turning point, this is the Barca I want.”
It’s certainly a mouth-watering prospect for the neutral, but rather a daunting one for the Blaugrana. Atletico are playing their best football in several years, and with a game in hand are four points off top, and two goals from being top scorers. With Antoine Griezmann being hailed by many as the best player in La Liga currently, Barcelona will have to be at their best in order to take down Diego Simeone’s side.