Xavi Urges Barcelona Fans Not To ‘Crucify’ Struggling Forward

Xavi

Getty Xavi wants two midfielder this summer

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has urged the club’s fans to go easy on Ferran Torres after the Spain international missed a penalty in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Valencia.

Torres was facing his former team at the Camp Nou and had a golden chance to make it 2-0 in the second half when Barcelona were awarded a penalty for a handball in the penalty area.

The forward stepped up to take the kick but hit the post. Xavi spoke about the miss after the game and told fans not to “crucify” Ferran for his penalty but did warn his players they must sharpen up in attack, as reported by ESPN.

“We have to know how to kill games off. We had a lot of chances to do so and we didn’t do it; then with the Araujo red card, we suffered at the end,” he said. “These are games when we should be talking about a comfortable victory, but the lack of effectiveness in the final third forces us to suffer.”

Barcelona saw Ronald Araujo sent off shortly after Torres’ miss and were forced to play out the remainder of the game with 10 men. The Catalans did manage to see out the victory to secure a valuable three points and extend their lead at the top of the table.

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Torres Struggles Continue

Torres has struggled for form throughout the current campaign but was back in the team with forwards Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski missing the game because of injury.

The Spain international has not scored for Barcelona since November but looked set to end his long drought when the Catalans won a penalty. However, his miss continues his poor record in front of goal, as shown by Opta.

Torres has openly admitted to using a psychologist this season in a bid to help him improve his form. The former Manchester City man revealed that he hit “rock bottom” at Barcelona and needed help to get him out of his slump.


Torres Was Barcelona’s Penalty-Taker

There did appear to be some discussion as to who would take Barcelona’s penalty before Torres missed. The forward was spotted in discussions with Ansu Fati and Franck Kessie before taking the ball and placing it on the spot.

Xavi was asked about the incident after the game and made it clear that Torres was the designated penalty-taker in the absence of Lewandowski, as reported by Sport.

“There is an order. We communicate it to the players. Then there are changes, Kessie has come in and he is also a good shooter,” he said. “But Ferran was on the list, yes, it’s true that if they have a positive feeling and they talk about it, they can change. But there is a list, an order. Even so, it’s good that a player wants to shoot, it shows desire and ambition.”

Yet Torres’s failure from the spot means he may not be on the list the next time Barcelona are awarded a penalty, particularly with Lewandowski back in training after a hamstring strain and set to return.

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