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Xavi: Athletic beat us because of their intensity

The hosts ran out 3-2 winners after extra-time

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona - Copa Del Rey Photo by Ion Alcoba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Xavi highlighted Athletic’s intensity as key to their victory over the Catalans in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

The hosts won 3-2 after extra-time with captain Iker Munian striking the winner from the penalty spot after Barca had twice come from behind.

It’s another blow for Xavi and his men and the coach spoke about where it had all gone wrong for his team after the match.

“They beat us because of their intensity,” Xavi said.

“We didn’t control the game. We were not comfortable in the game, so congratulations to Athletic because they showed unbelievable intensity. You have to win your duels, the second balls, set plays...

“Athletic were excellent, well organised. I think they played really well. We struggled to progress up the pitch. We tried. They defended with such intensity. They were better in the duels. They were strong. We fought until the end but we’re out of the cup.

“We’re experiencing some tough days but there’s nothing for it but to work hard and believe in the project. We have to pick ourselves up from the Supercopa defeat and this one. Two tough defeats but we have to think about LaLiga and the Europa League.”

Source | Sport

Xavi also saw Pedri and Ansu Fati forced off with injuries during the match and also explained afterwards that Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba both finished the game with some discomfort too.