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Xavi says Barcelona need to become “competitive animals” ahead of Champions League clash with FC Porto

The coach wants more intensity from his players

Xavi press conference before the Champions League match against FC Porto Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barcelona are preparing for a monster Champions League group stage clash against FC Porto on Tuesday that could either guarantee a spot in the Round of 16 or complicate Barça’s life even further ahead of the group finale.

Xavi Hernández is in the middle of one of his worst stretches of results as Barça manager, and the performances have especially left a lot to be desired as the coach looks to find the right formula to win games and play well.

During his pre-match press conference on Monday, Xavi decided to challenge the players’ mentality and asked them to bring more intensity from the beginning of the game, and show real hunger to compete like the best athletes and teams in the world do.

“We have to go for the games from the first minute, that’s what we are missing, we only react when there is an urgency, in the last minutes.

“We have to react, it’s part of the process, we know the way, we have to compete and tomorrow can be a turning point. We have failed in high pressure, in intensity, in mentality. There are many things. But I firmly believe that we will play well again and achieve results, Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

“Here there is always talk of a crisis if you don’t win. You always have to win. It’s the demand. There is always criticism, it’s normal, it is accepted to improve, be more forceful, have a more positive and winning mentality. Barça is the maximum demand.

“The most difficult thing in sport is to win again after having won. That’s why individual athletes who don’t stop winning and see winning as a drug are tremendously admirable. We have won but we have to win again and be a competitive animal.”

Strong words from Xavi. Let’s see if his players react in the biggest game of the season so far.

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