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Xavi reveals ‘unnecessary tension’ has rocked Barcelona after Royal Antwerp defeat

Xavi Hernandez has lamented the “unnecessary tension” which has been generated by media reports of unrest at Barcelona.

Xavi’s Barca lost a second consecutive game on Wednesday evening, being bested by Group H whipping boys Royal Antwerp in their final Champions League outing of 2023. The defeat followed an even more damaging loss to Girona in La Liga on Sunday evening which saw Barca slip down to fourth in the league table, a whopping seven points adrift of the table toppers.

In the aftermath of the Girona failure, Spanish media outlets reported Barca’s hierarchy were beginning to lose faith in Xavi as the club’s manager, with president Joan Laporta believed to have been furious with the performance.

Jules Kounde, Chidera Ejuke

Barca slumped to another defeat against Antwerp / Fantasista/GettyImages

Speaking to the press after the Champions League defeat to Antwerp, Xavi was keen to address the recent coverage of the club and insisted the media had created issues behind the scenes due to their stories.

He said: “It is a matter of confidence. It’s a question of being inspired. And this shirt is heavy. The objective has been achieved, but the feelings are not good. You have to be self-critical. You have to improve to win things. Saturday is a final. We have to win the people back.

“Although an unnecessary tension has been generated. We are in the round of 16. It is a credit to the club and the team. We have to remember where we come from. But we are alive. It is time to enjoy that, and think about where we came from.

“We didn’t start well, and we have to focus on it. Unnecessary tension has been generated with the squad list, above all we spoke with the players. From there we agreed with the president and with Deco. And that’s it. Then, we didn’t play a good game. But this defeat is not painful.”

Xavi will be hoping Barca can get back to winning ways on Saturday when they face off against Valencia at the Mestalla.


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