Xavi admitted that losing his first Barcelona game at home to Real Betis on Saturday was painful, but with a crucial Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich on the horizon, he urged his team to pick themselves up immediately.
Barcelona were on top on the stats sheet but simply could not get the ball in the back of the net, and a late winner from Juanmi resigned the Blaugrana to their worst start to a La Liga season in 18 years.
Xavi’s men sit seventh in the table, having picked up 23 points from 15 games, and they trail leaders Real Madrid by a whopping 16 points.
“It’s a defeat that hurts,” Xavi admitted after the game (via Marca). “At home, too.
“We had a good game, but that’s just how football is. We have to dominate more. We have to stop counters. These are situations that we have to control, but this result feels unfair. This is the Barcelona we want to see, but we have to improve. We have to be tactically smarter.
“On Wednesday, there is another final [against Bayern]. We cannot afford to fail anymore.”
Next up for Barcelona is a trip to Germany to face Bayern, with Xavi aware his side will likely need to pull off a huge upset if they are to book a spot in the Champions League last 16.
Barça currently sit second in the group but are just two points ahead of Benfica, who are in a bit of a slump themselves but are still expected to beat bottom side Dynamo Kyiv – a result which would carry them above Barcelona if they do not beat Bayern.
“I see the team being capable of going to Munich and winning,” Xavi stressed. “First of all, that’s our target. We have no other choice.
“We depend on ourselves. We are going to one of the toughest grounds in the world, but we will go with everything, to compete and to take the game to Bayern. We will prepare for the game as well as possible. We must be dominant, play with the ball and play in their half.”