Xavi targets Barcelona improvement after being made to 'suffer' by Villarreal

By Sports Desk February 12, 2023

Xavi is adamant there is still more to come from Barcelona after his side battled to a 1-0 win at Villarreal to open up an 11-point lead at the LaLiga summit.

Barcelona continued their perfect record this calendar year with an 11th victory in a row thanks to Pedri's first-half strike at El Madrigal.

The Catalan giants struggled to kill off the contest, with Robert Lewandowski having three attempts saved by Pepe Reina, and that almost came back to haunt them late on.

Samuel Chukwueze found a way past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the goal was quickly ruled out for offside as Barca kept a fifth clean sheet in six league games.

Despite now having a double-figures points advantage on Madrid, who play their game in hand at Elche on Wednesday, Xavi is not ruling Los Blancos out of the title race.

"There are many points left to play for," he told Movistar+. "The run of form we are on is extraordinary, but we can still improve certain things.

"Villarreal wanted to have possession today, and they squeezed us. We missed a lot of final passes and, by doing so, we have ended up suffering."

 

Barcelona have recorded seven wins by a 1-0 scoreline in 21 LaLiga games this season, equalling their highest total in a full season in the history of the competition.

They have conceded just seven LaLiga goals all campaign, which is six fewer than any other team across Europe's top five leagues.

"The defensive side of things isn't our main weapon, but it is bringing us results," Xavi said. "The defence starts from Robert [Lewandowski], which is very noticeable.

"We leave here having given no big chances to Villarreal and we leave very happy."

Pedri's goal in the 18th minute was his sixth of the season in the league, with four of those coming in 1-0 victories for Barca.

Indeed, no player has won more points for his team in LaLiga with goals this season than Pedri (10 points, level with Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias).

The Spain international was played through on goal following a quick one-two with Lewandowski, but only after Barcelona turned possession over in midfield.

"The game was like that. We either stole the ball off them or they stole it off us," Xavi added. "It's about taking advantage. I think today's victory came from that aspect."

Barca host Cadiz in their next league match, but first is a Europa League knockout play-off round first leg against Manchester United on Thursday.

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