Xavi urges Barcleona to step up performances in Champions League

By Sports Desk September 18, 2023

Xavi has called for Barcelona to “step up” in the Champions League and has targeted winning Group H ahead of the opening fixture against Antwerp on Tuesday.

Barcelona return to Europe’s elite competition after the LaLiga champions exited in the group stages last season.

And Xavi insisted his side need to perform if they want to progress from a pool including Antwerp, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk.

“It’s time to step things up in the Champions League,” Xavi said.

“We are starting at home, in front of our fans, and we are in great form.

“The goal is to finish top of our group and be seeded in the draw for the knockout stage. But this is about deeds not words. Last season the team got the playing side of things right but not the results. This year we need to play well and get results.”

New signing Oriol Romeu has not played in the Champions League since the 2012/13 season with Chelsea.

And the midfielder highlighted the positive mood in the camp as Barca seek their first Champions League trophy since 2015.

“It’s probably one of the most exciting trophies there is,” Romeu added.

“Kids everywhere dream of playing in the Champions League, of experiencing that atmosphere. And now we have the chance. We have to put the bad vibes of the last two seasons behind us and get things off to the best possible start.

“There is a positive mood in the camp, we’re optimistic. The team is getting better with every game and the idea is to keep that going.

“Europe is a big challenge and we’ll be playing against some very strong teams. That’s why we need to be at our best and to get off to a good start.

“We need to play good football and show what we are capable of doing. This squad can go very far and we are here to have a great year in Europe.”

The former Southampton player lauded his new midfield partner Frenkie De Jong – both Romeu and De Jong have featured in all five LaLiga games this season.

He said:  “Off the field he has always been very nice to me and onfield it’s an absolute luxury to play alongside him. He makes breakthroughs with the ball and is one of the best midfielders in Europe right now, he’s top class.”

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