HomeXavi feels supported by Barcelona hierarchy despite poor run of form

Xavi feels supported by Barcelona hierarchy despite poor run of form

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Xavi insists he retains the support of the Barcelona hierarchy despite the Blaugrana’s poor run of form, which they will attempt to right when they host Porto in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Barcelona have made an underwhelming start to their defence of the domestic title they captured last season, slipping to fourth in LaLiga over the weekend.

Saturday’s frustrating 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano, where only a late Florian Lejeune own goal saved Barca from an embarrassing defeat, enabled rivals Real Madrid to pull four points clear of the Blaugrana by thrashing Cadiz 3-0 on Sunday.

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Barcelona could even find themselves six points off the summit by the end of Monday, with surprise package Girona looking to return to the top of the table when they host Athletic Bilbao.

Xavi’s team have now won just two of their last five games (one draw, two defeats), and they could yet come under pressure in the Champions League. Their matchday four defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk saw the Ukrainian side move within three points of them at the top of Group H.

The former midfielder questioned his players’ mentality after Saturday’s draw with Rayo, but speaking at a press conference to preview Porto’s trip to Montjuic, he outlined his belief that the team will turn a corner.

Asked if he was feeling the pressure amid Barca’s poor run, Xavi said: “No. I have the trust of the president, [sporting director] Deco, my players and the coaching staff.

“I’m sure things will end up working out. Last year we also had problems and they ended up going away.

“I’m fine, I’m energetic and more positive than ever. I am the one who leads the team and I believe a lot in the players.

“I have blind faith in them and in the work of the entire coaching staff. There is always criticism. It is a reminder of what I experienced as a footballer. Nothing changes.

“These same players played very well last year, and this year too. We have played good games and we have to believe that will return. We have to do it tomorrow. For us, it is a final.”

Barca were somewhat fortunate to claim a 1-0 win over Porto in the return fixture last month, and Xavi is wary of the threat Sergio Conceicao’s side will pose on Tuesday.

“Porto are a very hard-working team. They know very well what they have to do,” Xavi said. “They are a high-level rival.

“In Porto we suffered a lot, and many things also happened to us in the end. They dominated us. They are a very strong rival.

“Here they always talk about a crisis if you don’t win. You always have to win. It is the requirement.

“There is always criticism, it is normal, it is accepted in order to improve, to be more forceful, to have a more positive and winning mentality.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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