On Wednesday night, Barcelona manager Xavi expressed his pleasure with his team’s defensive performance in their 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. Despite having only 34% possession, the Catalan giants were able to secure the win thanks to a deflected own goal from Eder Militao.
Speaking after the match, Xavi praised his team’s attitude and the spectacular performances of his defenders. He admitted that Barcelona struggled to keep possession and execute their game plan but was satisfied with the result. However, Xavi also acknowledged that Real Madrid is still a strong team and the favorites to win the tie.
Despite the win, Xavi cautioned that Real Madrid is still a strong team and the holders of the Champions League, making them the favorites to progress. Xavi also highlighted the importance of stopping Vinicius Jr, who is known for creating multiple chances in a game.
Here is what Xavi said with a lot of Barca News in the Air
What Xavi said on the performance:
We were not able to keep the ball. It was difficult for us to win duels in possession, but we defended very well.
What Xavi said on the team’s attitude:
The attitude was great and we fought until the very end, which is positive. Madrid did not create a single clear chance.
What Xavi said on if he is happy with the win:
I’m satisfied with the result, but not with our match. We can’t let our rival take the ball away from us.
What Xavi said on the second leg:
We have an advantage for the second leg, but we still have to compete very well. I think Real Madrid are very strong, and I still see them as the favorites.
What Xavi said on how the team fared:
We played well without the ball, but not with the ball. We didn’t know what to do with the ball. We were extraordinary at the back though, and that should be valued. It’s part of the game. I think today we were exceptional and we have to evaluate that positively.
What Xavi said On the gameplan:
The plan was not to defend. The plan was to have long possessions and win duels, but we did not execute it properly. We can’t boast about how we won today. I insist that Madrid are very strong. You can’t always dominate big teams. They made us play this way, it was not our plan.
Xavi on Ronald Araujo:
Araujo was spectacular, but all of our defenders were really good. He is one of the best defenders in the world.
What xavi said on Real Madrid having greater possession:
We did not betray our style. The rival forced us to play this way. You try to take the ball away from Modric and Kroos… Sometimes you have to defend.
What Xavi said on his defenders:
Marcos and Jules were spectacular.
What Xavi said on Real Madrid’s chances:
Real Madrid are still favorites. They are very strong physically and they have a great team. They are the holders of the Champions League.
What Xavi saidOn stopping Vinicius Jr:
We can’t underestimate our work to stop Vinicius today. He usually creates 6 or 7 chances by himself, but nothing today.
Xavi acknowledged that there is still work to be done ahead of the second leg but was pleased with his team’s defensive display. Barcelona will face Real Madrid again on February 23rd in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final. Stay tuned for more Barca News.
Quotes taken from Barca Universal