Xavi Hernandez has defended Lionel Messi from criticism after Barcelona lost the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid.
AS reports that the midfielder was asked after the 2-1 defeat if Messi could have contributed more, but Xavi said everyone in a Barca shirt could have done better.
“If it’s a matter of blame then we’re all guilty, the players, the Coach,” Xavi said.
“We’re so disappointed but we have to lift up our heads.
“When you lose a final, it’s awful, but that’s sport. We have to take the defeat and look ahead. We wanted to give joy to our supporters but our mistakes helped Madrid have a good game.
“They played on the counter and that’s how they got the goals. They hurt us like that but they came from our mistakes.
“It’s a shame they got that goal. Such is sport. We have to be sad about it.
“Our equaliser [scored by Marc Barta] had them down emotionally but they’ve overcome it, waited to get back in the game and done very well on the counter.
“We gave a lot to be level and we will look back on our mistakes.
“Madrid did a very good job defensively. They were very good in defence. We tried to go inside, outside, but our mistakes cost us and that’s a shame. Barcelona looked to attack more and Madrid defended.”
It was put to Xavi that the result marks the end of Barcelona’s cycle of success. He replied that according to the Press, that has been the case for a while.
“You’ve been saying that for five years. Someday it has to end and if you insist so much eventually it will,” he added.
“I don’t mind. The Press can be right, you have opinions, debates, all respectable, sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t.
“We’ve competed well until the very end. In analysing the game there are two details. We shouldn’t have left the spaces we did and they had a great game on the counter.
“But we’re still competitive and we have to continue, to see how this ends.”
The subject of the World Cup was raised and Xavi was asked if Barca’s players will be affected by the demands of the season come the summer tournament.
“The atmosphere is bad in the media but inside the team it’s fantastic,” Xavi countered.
“The only bad feeling is created by the Press. I’ll see you at the World Cup and we are very close.
“That’s a fantastic place to do something special and in a nice atmosphere.
“We’ll arrive tired, yes, but others will as well. We’ll all be tired but we will compete well.”