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Xavi: Barcelona’s second half would have been different with Pedri and Gavi

The coach missed his two midfielders against Man Utd

Manchester United v FC Barcelona: Knockout Round Play-Off Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Xavi Hernandez said Barcelona missed Pedri and Gavi in the second half against Manchester United on Thursday night.

The Catalans were leading 1-0 at Old Trafford after a first-half penalty from Robert Lewandowski but slipped to a 2-1 defeat that sent them out of the Europa League.

Xavi shared his thoughts on the match after the final whistle.

“The first half was good. It was an even tie — here and at Camp Nou. In spells we were very good, such as in the first half here. The team stepped up, but we lost against a great side in great form,” he said.

“It was more down to us, we lacked patience in the second half. If Pedri and Gavi are playing, I think the second half could have been different.

“It’s not looking for excuses, but the pause they play with, how they turn. It allows you to play in the opponent’s half.

“Sergi Roberto was good. Kessie very good, like Frenkie. But for the way we play, they would have been really good for us here. That said, the first half was excellent and it’s a shame we are out.”

The Barcelona coach also said he feels his side were much better in Europe this season than last despite the early exit,

“We have been much better than last season. We came up against Bayern, Inter and Man Utd this time. These are big, powerful sides, but we were not good enough,” he said.

“We have improved, but it wasn’t enough. We will try again. We will be self-critical and try to be more competitive and look to improve in Europe.”

“Their first goal did a lot of damage to us, coming from a 50-50 ball which we lost. We lost the individual duels in the second half. United played with a lot of intensity.”

Barcelona must now recover quickly from their European disappointment and focus on a trip to struggling Almeria on Sunday in La Liga.

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