Xavi ‘still sees Real Madrid as favourites’ despite Barcelona’s Copa del Rey first-leg win


Barcelona beat Real Madrid 1-0 in their Copa del Rey semi-final first leg despite having just 35.3 per cent possession.

Xavi was not entirely satisfied with Barcelona’s performance despite a 1-0 win away at El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in their Copa del Rey semi-final first leg, and still believes their opponents are favourites for the tie.

Eder Militao’s own goal in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu was enough for Barca to win, while Madrid enjoyed plenty of the ball and had 13 shots but failed to hit the target once as they conceded.

The Barca head coach was delighted with the win but appeared keen to pile the pressure on Los Blancos ahead of the return leg on April 5 as he insisted they are still favorites to reach the final.

“We have some advantage,” he told reporters. “We will have to compete very well [in the second leg at Camp Nou]. We defended well. Coming home with our fans is positive. But I still see Real Madrid as favourites.”

Xavi was pleased with his side’s defense but was concerned about their inability to keep possession as the visitors had just 35.3 percent of possession in the game and completed just 309 of 380 passes (81.3 percent).

“I’m not happy … It’s not the percentage we’re looking for,” he said.

“The result is very positive. I am satisfied with the work, solid defense, we minimized Real Madrid on their pitch. The match was difficult.

“The win is huge [but] we didn’t know how to keep the ball, it was difficult for us to win the battles. We defended well without the ball and fought well without the ball.

“People support. I’m happy, but we have to improve our ball game. We can’t give the opponent the upper hand.

“I am satisfied with the result, but not so much with the match.”

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