Sources: Barça back Xavi amid calls for change

Sources: Barça back Xavi amid calls for change

طوبیٰ Tooba 9 months ago 0 2


Sources: Barça back Xavi amid calls for change

Barcelona have “total” faith in Xavi Hernandez and his position as coach, a club source told ESPN, despite the team’s dip in form and recent results.

The Catalan club were beaten 1-0 by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday and needed an added-time winner from Ronald Araújo to beat Real Sociedad 1-0 in LaLiga on Saturday, after a 2-1 El Clásico loss to Real Madrid a week earlier.

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Sources close to Xavi told ESPN that any questions about his future as coach were “out of place” given his track record at the club.

Xavi — a Barca legend as a player between 1998 and 2015 — took over as manager in November 2021, with the club struggling on and off the pitch, and won the LaLiga title convincingly last season.

Sources argued that Xavi’s was a long-term project which should not be called into question due to a momentary poor run of form.

The loss to Shakhtar — which meant Barca missed the chance to clinch their progression to the Champions League round of 16 — was a blow to morale, a club source said, but had not led the board to doubt Xavi.

The mood behind the scenes was one of unity and confidence, the source said, and the team was expected to bounce back quickly.

Two years into his reign, Xavi has faced criticism in recent weeks for the team’s style of play — with just two goals scored in their last three games — but sources close to the coach told ESPN they would not get involved in speculation about his future.

Xavi renewed his contract as manager until 2025 in September, and has a good relationship with president Joan Laporta.

Barca are third in LaLiga, four points behind leaders Girona and two behind Real Madrid, before Sunday’s game with Alavés at Montjuic ahead of the international break.

That will be followed by three tough tests at home against FC Porto in the Champions League and then Atletico Madrid and Girona in LaLiga.

Meanwhile, former Barcelona captain Gerard Pique called for “patience” with Xavi on Wednesday.

“You should only sack the manager when you don’t see solutions,” Pique told the Catalan radio station RAC1. “Xavi knows the place, he’s been there for many years. He grew up with the style of play. I can’t see anyone better than him to take this forward.”

“There are nerves and criticism when Barca don’t play well for a couple of games, but that’s normal at this club,” he said. “At Barca we need to win and play well. At [Real] Madrid they’d love to win 1-0 at Anoeta [against Real Sociedad] in the 92nd minute, but here it’s not enough because of how we played. That’s added pressure for the coach and the players.”

Pique said the insistence on Barca playing attractive football made the job more difficult, but also more rewarding.

“[Real Madrid] are the team that has won more [Champions Leagues] than anyone in Europe, but our way of being and thinking means that when we win, we’re remembered forever,” he said.

“Pep [Guardiola]’s Barca are remembered as the best team in recent history. Madrid’s last Champions League [win in 2022] was a miracle and nobody remembers it. They weren’t the better team in a single tie, including the final.”


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