Barcelona are facing something of a crisis after being all but knocked out of the Champions League and losing to Real Madrid in the space of five days. It leaves them three points behind Los Blancos but perhaps more pertinently, facing serious question marks about their ability to cope against bigger sides.
One of the most under fire figures was Sergio Busquets, who was withdrawn after the hour mark, yet Xavi Hernandez went out of his way to defend his captain in his pre-match press conference. The Blaugrana face Villarreal on Thursday evening at Camp Nou.
Speaking to Marca, Xavi was asked whether their failings against Real Madrid were a mental problem.
“I don’t think it’s a mental issue. We had them there [in their box]. We had the opportunity to equalise and make it 2-2. Also at 1-1 before the break. Madrid are a great team. It is the current champion of Europe and League. I don’t think it’s a mental issue. The team showed face right until the end.”
It was also put to him that Barcelona appear vulnerable on the counter and that he had put down that down to errors in both matches against Inter and Real Madrid, where they conceded six goals in total.
“They are errors of the whole team, tactical things that we can adjust. We have to be more aggressive. To position ourselves better after losing the ball. Make more tactical fouls. There are many situations where we can improve.”
So far Xavi has been stubborn with his ideas – something that is somewhat to be expected from someone so inculcated in a certain style of football. He appears to be unwilling to alter the ideas themselves and is keen to perfect the execution instead.