Lewandowski Sends Xavi and Barcelona ‘Nice Football’ Warning

Robert Lewandowski

Getty Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring for Barcelona.

Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski has warned manager Xavi and the club that the team must do more than just play “nice football” if they are to bring trophies back to the Camp Nou.

The Catalans are known for their ‘Barcelona DNA’ which involves playing an attractive, attacking brand of football where the team dominates the ball. Yet Lewandowski has told Barcelona Magazine that the game has moved on in recent years and it’s time to adapt.

“I know that the Barça DNA says that we need to play nice football,” he said. “But we also need to appreciate that football has changed. For example, the way Barça played ten years ago might not work any more. We have to adapt to football and demonstrate the best that we have.”

Yet Barcelona manager Xavi has insisted he is not willing to change his style of play and is enjoying a strong season. He has led his team to the top of the table, nine points clear of Real Madrid, and into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

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Xavi Willing To Change?

Although Xavi has said he wants to stay loyal to the club’s footballing philosophy, he has shown he is willing to make changes to his team when necessary during the current campaign.

Injuries and suspensions have seen Xavi shift from his preferred 4-3-3 formation to a system using four midfielders at times. The changes brought impressive wins over both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Xavi has also managed to strengthen the team’s notoriously vulnerable backline, with the Catalans having the best defensive record in Europe’s top five leagues so far in 2023-24. Barca have conceded just eight goals in 24 league outings.

There is certainly a new-found resilience about Barcelona this season, evidenced in the team’s 1-0 Copa del Rey semi-final first leg win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Barca did not dominate possession for once but still emerged victorious.

Opta highlighted how little Barcelona saw of the ball in the Bernabeu.

Xavi: Managing Barcelona Is Hardest Job

Barcelona and Xavi came in for criticism for their performance at the Bernabeu, despite securing a vital win without key players such as Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele, and Pedri who all missed the clash due to injury.

Xavi spoke after the game about the criticism regarding his team’s lack of possession and how it’s not enough just to win when you are at Barcelona, as reported by ESPN.

“It’s created a bit of a stir, which is why I say Barcelona is the most difficult club in the world,” he said. “Winning is not enough here. You beat Real Madrid 1-0 and it’s not convincing because [of losing possession]. The other way around, it’s a national holiday. I said this last season and I was hammered for it. At Barca, you have to win and be convincing.”

Despite all the criticism, Xavi has his team on target to claim a league and cup double this season in his first full season in charge of the club, a feat that may just silence his detractors.

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