Xavi targets second after ‘titanic effort’ to secure UEFA Champions League place

XAVI

Xavi is not yet ready to accept the end of Barcelona’s season despite receiving a UEFA Champions League qualifier on Saturday.

The Blaugrana beat Real Betis 2-1 in Seville to ensure the fifth-placed team will no longer be able to hold on for a second.

Ansu Fati’s shotgun broke his leg before former Barca defender Marc Bartra responded in the same way.

It was down to Jordi Alba to win the game and defend Barca’s top 4 spots with a low volley in the 94th minute.

Coach Xavi applauded his team for their efforts to recover from the start of the season, having won every game they have played against the top ten in 2022.

But he is still determined to hold on to the second place.

“We’ve got a lot of weight off our shoulders,” Xavi said. “It would be a very difficult and difficult season.

“The team is very competitive.

“We hit the Top 10 in the second round of the season, it is a testament to the fact that we have to play better, we have to be considered, but we have put a lot of effort from November to now.

“We will be in the UEFA Champions League, the competition we deserve. Now we want to be in second place.”

However, Xavi added that the success was “a small amount needed” at the Camp Nou, saying: “I want to fight for titles. We will not miss another year without competing.”

The former Barca midfielder will hope that Fati can play a key role in the 2022-23 improved campaign, as he is limited to 12 appearances – where he has scored six goals – due to injury this season.

Xavi praised Fati as a “difference maker”, who struck 75 seconds after being introduced sitting on the bench, saying: “It’s a great feeling to be with him.”

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