Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez offered a very honest assessment of his own performance after seeing his team slip to a third straight home defeat on Sunday, April 25.
The Catalans were beaten 1-0 by Rayo Vallecano in La Liga at the Camp Nou, and Xavi told reporters after the match that he had made a mistake ahead of the game, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“Today I made a mistake as a coach. I did not manage to motivate my players. I come out here and I recognize it. I can say what I have done wrong, not when others have done… it would be disrespectful,” he said. “During the talk I thought that we would come out very psyched but it cost us in the first half. In the second half we came out differently. We have to continue and stay in second place at least.”
Sunday’s result means Barcelona have lost three straight home games in the same season for the first time in the club’s history, according to MisterChip. The defeat leaves Barcelona in second place in the table but still not guaranteed a top-four finish.
The Catalans are level on 63 points with Sevilla with five games left to play. Atletico Madrid are two points further back in fourth, while Copa del Rey winners Real Betis sit fifth on 57 points.
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Xavi Talks Barcelona’s ‘Difficult Situation’
Barcelona’s home form will be of real concern to Xavi. The team has now lost consecutive home games to Eintracht Frankfurt, Cadiz, and Rayo but have a week to prepare for their next match at the Camp Nou.
Real Mallorca are the next visitors to Barcelona on Sunday, May 1 and Xavi admits his team are in a tricky situation at present ahead of the team’s final five matches of the 2021-22 campaign.
“We are in a difficult situation,” he explained. “We are still in the Champions League places but we have complicated ourselves because if we had beaten Cádiz and Rayo it would have almost given us the qualification for the Champions League. Now it’s time to rest, disconnect and in the middle of the week we’ll get back on and prepare for the Mallorca game.”
Should Barca Have Had a Penalty?
Xavi was also asked about a possible penalty Barcelona should have been awarded in the second half. Midfielder Gavi appeared to be shoved over in the penalty area by Alejandro Catena but referee Isidro Díaz de Mera waved Barca’s appeals away.
Xavi insisted after the match he did not know if his team had been hard done by but felt the match officials should be able to explain their actions after matches.
“I haven’t seen it, is it a penalty? I don’t know. The referee would have to come out and speak. I can’t speak for him,” he said. “I don’t gain anything by talking about the referees. I believe in their honesty. I don’t want to think that they expressly whistle us wrong. They should go out and talk. We coaches go out and explain ourselves. I try to be honest.”
Barcelona still look to be on course for a top four finish, and qualification for next season’s Champions League, but Xavi will know his team must improve quickly if they are to stay in second place.