Xavi puts Barcelona situation into perspective ahead of Champions League dead rubber

By Sports Desk October 31, 2022

Barcelona head coach Xavi attempted to put the club's embarrassing Champions League elimination into perspective as he insisted the team is on the "right track".

The Blaugrana will play no part in the Champions League knockout stages for the second season running after accumulating just four points from five games.

Prior to last season, Barca had reached at least the last 16 of the Champions League in 19 successive campaigns.

Their fate was sealed last Wednesday when Inter beat Viktoria Plzen to secure their passage alongside Group C winners Bayern Munich, who crushed Barca 3-0 at Camp Nou later that day.

While it was undoubtedly a major blow considering Barca's significant squad investment in the face of financial issues during the transfer window, Xavi feels he is able to offer perspective given he has seen the club at its worst and its best.

"Unfortunately and luckily, I have lived through the worst period in the club's history, from 2000 to 2003, and the best, from when [Frank] Rijkaard arrived until I retired," he said.

"We have to insist, now is not the time to doubt. We are in a situation that we did not expect, eliminated from the Champions League, but we have to believe in the idea, draw a line and have faith.

"I am very positive. I continue to think that we are on the right track. The titles will be won in 2023 [not now].

"It did not help to be put in a very difficult Champions group, but this year we have taken a step. In Munich the team played very well.

"We had the opportunity in our hands, but it escaped us due to football mistakes, adverse situations and refereeing decisions.

"We had the chance, but we did not score points in Munich after the good game we played, and then only managed a draw against Inter when we had it under control. They were things that depended on us.

"We had the misfortune of being drawn into a very strong group and not being up to the task. This is the reality."

Tuesday's trip to Viktoria Plzen has very little riding on it, with Barca already assured of their spot in the Europa League.

As such, Xavi is expected to rotate his squad and he confirmed Robert Lewandowski is being rested due to a slight back problem.

But as for those who can feature, Xavi is urging them not to be complacent just because the result is essentially irrelevant, as he looks to maintain their momentum in LaLiga ahead of the World Cup.

Asked what Barca have to play for on Tuesday, Xavi said: "Winning, playing well, offering good feelings.

"For prestige and professionalism, we have to go all out and finish this competition well. It's very important to go into the last two league games before the World Cup with a good feeling."

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