Barcelona manager Xavi Hernández spoke to the press ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League group stage finale against Royal Antwerp in Belgium, but the only thing in everyone’s mind was the last game, not the next.
The humbling La Liga defeat at home to leaders Girona was a painful blow to a team that had been in good form and was looking at the Catalan derby as a chance to definitively enter the title race, but the Blaugrana struggled to defend all night and were dominated in the second half en route to a deserved and hurtful loss.
Xavi and the team have naturally been the target of heavy criticism in the last couple of days, but the boss insists that the team showed enough signs against Girona to encourage him for what’s next.
The coach also wants to see a response from a team that, according to him, is angry and ready to show a reaction against the worst team in the group.
“We’re sure there’s criticism from the outside and it’s normal for losing to Girona, but from the inside we’re angry because we lost despite doing a lot of things to win. It was the same as against Real Madrid, we played better, but we didn’t control the two boxes, we lacked effectiveness.
“Now, we have to react because it is an important game even though we have already done our homework in the Champions League.”
Barça need only a point to clinch first place in Group H and might even win the group with a loss if Shakhtar Donetsk don’t beat FC Porto, but it seems clear from Xavi’s words that he and the team only have a big win in mind.