Xavi: Barcelona must believe in project after Eintracht Frankfurt defeat


Xavi urged Barcelona to “keep believing in the project” after his side crashed out of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Barca stumbled into the Europa League quarter-finals as relegated by Eintracht Frankfurt, but their LaLiga form remains impressive and leads them to second place in the table.

The Blaugrana are 12 points adrift of Real Madrid, who play third-placed Sevilla on Sunday, and have yet to lose their last 15 games for Spain, winning their last seven.

Xavi insists his team must forget the failure in Europe if they are to register eight consecutive league victories for the first time since January 2019 when they host Cadiz on Monday.

“When we started in November, we knew we had to compete a lot, that in the last five or six years we did not compete well enough in Europe,” he told reporters at a press conference before the game.

“We must continue to believe in the project, to compete well in Naples, not Eintracht.

“It’s difficult, they took us out of the Europa League which we hoped to win to get into the Champions League but we didn’t win.

“We encourage the team, let them see where we have failed, and what we have done well. In short, it is to continue to believe in what we are working on. Slowly, patiently.

“Now is the time to focus on winning the Champions League [with LaLiga].”

Regarding questions about his tactics, Xavi replied: “We have won five Champion League titles with this style. The style set by [Johan] Cruyff has given us great success.

“If we have doubts, we have to improve these games, which we should not do to relax. If we make mistakes we should improve them.”

Barca will be hoping that the Camp Nou will be filled with local fans against Cadiz, unlike the vast majority of Eintracht fans – estimated at 25,000 – who have entered the Europa League.

Blaugrana president Joan Laporta has admitted he is “ashamed” of the state of tickets on the Bundesliga side, and Xavi has confirmed that the matter is being investigated internally.

“The team is working to resolve it, as soon as it has an explanation, it will first tell us and then the media,” he added.

“The players didn’t feel at home. It was a bad night by all means.”

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