Barcelona ‘had to react’, says Xavi after Villarreal win


After just one win in their last four matches, Barcelona boss Xavi was delighted to see a response from his side against Villarreal.

Barcelona boss Xavi believes his side answered their critics with their emphatic 3-0 win over Villarreal in LaLiga, stating that they “had to react” after their mixed recent form.

The Blaugrana hit the ground running in a seven-minute stretch just after the half-hour mark as Robert Lewandowski grabbed a quick-fire double and Ansu Fati added a third at the Camp Nou.

The win means Barca move three points clear of league club Real Madrid after their El Clasico defeat at the weekend, but also snap a two-match winless streak to take them back to the top.

With just one win from their previous four before Thursday’s win, Xavi acknowledged his side needed to answer their critics and was delighted they did so in such impressive fashion.

“We played a great game,” he said. “It was our turn [to win] – we had to achieve. It wasn’t easy because a lot was expected of us after bad results.

“A lot of expectations are placed on us this season. But we showed our true colors, we showed character. It’s a good feeling in general.”

Barca rang the changes after capitulating in El Clasico, with Fati leading one of five swaps to the starting XI, Frenkie de Jong nodding in midfield and Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele dropping out.

Xavi hinted that his substitutions were pre-planned rather than as a result of the Madrid defeat, adding: “There will be changes again on Sunday.

“We have fatigue among our players. We need intensity and we need rhythm. Players have to be engaged for the minutes they play.”

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