Barcelona are approaching a crucial eight days in their season as they attempt to defend their La Liga lead, keep themselves in the Champions League and then travel to the Santiago Bernabeu next Sunday.
They do so coming off a damaging 1-0 defeat to Inter in midweek, which was arguably their worst performance of the season so far.
Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s match with Celta Vigo on Sunday, manager Xavi Hernandez was asked exactly what went wrong in Milan.
“In the end, they closed themselves off very narrow. We didn’t understand the alternatives, it was better in the second half. They did well covering. we are working on it and we are trying to attack better.”
It was put to Xavi that Pedri and Gavi only passed to each other three times against Inter. The Catalan then explained what it was he wanted to see from his ‘interiors’.
“More mobility, generating spaces, looking before receiving… it is the understanding of the play that helps you player better or worse. But against a defence of five it is more difficult.”
Another solution suggested was whether Barcelona should be shooting from outside the box more often.
“Completely, we have to shoot from outside, provoke the defence to come out more. We spoke about it today. We have to get to the line and cross more. We didn’t really find the timing to attack that space well. The decision-making at the end has to be better than in the last match.”
Barcelona put 50 crosses into the box against Inter and looked depressingly short of ideas against Inter’s back five. The fixture on Wednesday represents perhaps Xavi’s greatest test so far as Barcelona manager.