“I apologize to the fans!”: Barcelona coach speaks after Real Madrid defeat

Date:

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Xavi, Head Coach of FC Barcelona, arrives at the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on November 28, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Aitor Alcalde – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

FC Barcelona had to endure a painful defeat last night in the Spanish Super Cup final against Real Madrid. The Catalans fell down to two goals in the starting ten minutes, and ended the match 4-1, with Robert Lewandowski scoring the only Barcelona goal and Vinicius Junior getting a first-half hat-trick.

Xavi talked to the media after this match, and as expected, the affair was a somber one. As SPORT has noted, the head coach showed his disappointment with the result, but still assured the fans that “Barcelona will return”, and Real Madrid were the fair winners.

Analyzing the loss, Xavi regretted the overall approach taken by the team in this match:

“We’ve been hurt a lot by how we entered the game; we came out in the worst possible way in a final, and against Madrid, it’s inadmissible. We had to play catch-up.

We’ve been bad in general; we didn’t press well, we didn’t recover well, we didn’t stop the runs, in transitions, and we didn’t commit tactical fouls when they live off that. The goals come from passes into space, winning behinds, and we knew that.”

Xavi went on to explain that the team reacted well after the first two goals, but the Madrid penalty dampened the team’s spirits for good:

“After the 2-0, you can’t start losing a final like that, but we reacted well and had good minutes until Robert [Lewandowski]’s goal. And the penalty, which was not, has finished us off. The team has disconnected.”

The former midfielder particularly lamented the mistakes made by his team in this match:

“It’s not a matter of hunger but of mistakes. Football is a game of errors. We haven’t minimized ours and we’ve maximized Madrid’s virtues.”

Defeats against Real Madrid are always painful for Barcelona, and Xavi took this opportunity to apologize to the fans for the team’s poor showing:

“It has been a tough defeat. [I am] disappointed, not only as a coach but as a Barcelona fan because we have shown the worst face of the team in the worst scenario. And I want to offer the most sincere and honest apologies to the fans because this is not the image that Barcelona should display in a final, especially against Madrid. We have not been at the level or up to the circumstances.”

While the defeat was painful, Xavi ensured that he was calm and will work on improving the team’s weaknesses in the coming days:

“[We’re] Calm, considering the circumstances, even though I am upset and disappointed. I am fully responsible, and it is clear that there is much to improve to continue competing.”

Xavi expected criticism to mount on him in the coming weeks, but stated that he was not too concerned about it:

“[I believe] in the project, in myself, and in the team, and I think we are capable of turning the situation around. I am ready to withstand the criticism; there were criticisms before the match, and there always have been.

I feel strong, and calm; today is a step back and a tough blow, but that’s sports. I’ve found myself in similar situations before. There’s no choice but to accept the criticism, which will be plenty and deserved, and keep working.”

When asked why the fans should trust that Barcelona will return strongly following this defeat, the head coach pointed to his previous achievements:

“Because we have done it. With me as the coach, the team has won titles not too long ago. Today we did not live up to expectations, but there are reasons. Last year, we had all the reasons to say that a new era was beginning. Now we need to be self-critical, we need to reset and fight for the three remaining titles.”

Lastly, Xavi clearly stated that no new arrivals were expected in the winter market:

“As of today, we can’t [bring anyone], I said it the other day. The club cannot bring in anyone; the situation is what it is.”

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari has been covering Spanish football as a writer for Barca News Network for the last one and a half year and as an amateur football fanatic for more than 10 years. He mainly covers on and off-field happenings taking place at Barcelona including transfer news, administrative changes, match reports, and any other eventful news coming out of the club.

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