Xavi talks Yamal, Cubarsi, Fort, Roque after Barcelona get eliminated from Copa del Rey

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

The defeat suffered by FC Barcelona to Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey can turn out to be a decisive event for Xavi Hernandez as this was one of the more attainable trophies for the team, and finishing the season without any silverware always have significant implications for a club of Barcelona’s stature.

The team was knocked out of the tournament with a 4-2 defeat to a team led by one of former Barcelona coaches, Ernesto Valverde. With this elimination, Barcelona are now only contending for the big prizes, i.e., the Champions League and La Liga.

However, the Catalans are trailing the league leaders, Girona, by 8 points in La Liga, and will also have to face some of the strongest sides in Europe in the Champions League.

After last night’s match, Xavi commented on the defeat and the scenario that Barcelona now face for the rest of the season. As SPORT has noted, the Barcelona head coach analyzed the game as:

“We tried; we competed very well against a great team that is very strong at home. I already said that we were unlucky in the draw. We took the lead, and we had the winning goal with the last chance from Lamine… They have been very intense, but we have to be proud of trying until the end.”

Xavi rued the mistakes that led to the two Athletic Club goals in particular:

“[There was a] lack of concentration, with specific mistakes. We let them cross when we knew how Sancet entered from the second line. Football is a game of mistakes, and we haven’t minimized ours.”

Several very young players took the field for Barcelona in this match, and despite some of the mistakes made by them, Xavi was proud of their performance:

“We had chances, and I’m proud of the young players who got to play. That’s how the Copa works. In a single-game format away from home, it’s difficult to win.”

Further commenting on the youngsters in particular, Xavi explained why even more academy players could not get on the field in this match:

“He [Yamal] was discouraged by the chance he didn’t score, but he created it himself. He stole the ball, and scored a great goal… Cubarsí was also good, Héctor Fort did very well, and we couldn’t field more young players because the regulations didn’t allow it.”

Although the team has missed out on two trophies up to now this season, Xavi still remained optimistic about Barcelona’s future, regardless of whether he remained on the bench:

“Calm because the most important titles, such as La Liga and the Champions League, are still ahead, and we will fight for them as we did today. It’s the beginning of something important; this Barcelona has a future. It’s a very good project from a generation, there is very good potential for Barcelona to compete whether I am the coach or not.”

Xavi once again reiterated that winning titles was one of the demands made by the club from him: “They demand titles from me, or at least, to compete for them. I’m not discovering anything.”

Vitor Roque did not make an appearance in the last match, but Xavi reassured that the young Brazilian will be an important player for him going forward: “Vitor Roque is very young, he came in the other day, and he will be important.”

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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