As Barcelona get set to take on Royal Antwerp in their first Group H game of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, manager Xavi Hernandez made his customary appearance before the press today.
After tasting success in La Liga and the Spanish Supercup, the 43-year-old is under pressure to do well in the Champions League, especially with the Catalans having faced group-stage eliminations in the last two seasons.
And, outlining the team’s objectives for Europe this season, Xavi said: “The first year was not adequate for us to compete, last year it was adequate for us to compete but we didn’t get the results. This season we want to make the leap.”
Outlining the ambition to finish as group winners, he added: “The objective is clear, it’s to get through the group, then we’ll talk about it.
“We have to be in the last 16, it’s our main objective after two years without doing so. It’s the clear objective, to try to get through as group winners.”
Barcelona have strengthened the squad significantly this past summer and Xavi believes that there is enough quality to do well in the Champions League, although he insisted that the team must show it on the pitch.
“In terms of playing and in terms of results. Last year we played well but the results weren’t good enough. We have strengthened well and we have the squad to compete in Europe, but it’s not about words, it’s about facts,” he said.
On Tuesday, Xavi will come up against a former teammate in the form of Mark van Bommel. The Royal Antwerp manager spent a year at Barcelona as a player and shared the dressing room with Xavi as well as Barça’s sporting director Deco.
“I have great memories of him as a teammate and as a rival, he was a physically very strong player. He was a good teammate and a good friend. He is doing a good job at Antwerp,” Xavi said of van Bommel.
Highlighting the qualities of the Catalans’ opposition for tomorrow, the manager added: “I would emphasise the flanks….
Source link : https://barcauniversal.com/xavi-talks-ferran-araujo-pedri-yamal-cancelo-felix-ahead-of-barcelona-vs-royal-antwerp/
Author : Michel Durant
Publish date : 2023-09-18 11:47:00
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