Joao Felix’s first half goal proved to be the difference for the hosts as he slotted home to silence the pre-game criticism from his parent club.
The Portuguese international rose to the challenge with a vital impact for Xavi’s charges against their title rivals.
However, as Atletico began to drag themselves back into the contest in the closing stages, a rear guard action was needed from Barcelona, to ensure three points remained in Catalonia.
Stand in goal keeper Inaki Pena made two vital late stops, to deny substitute pair Memphis Depay and Angel Correa in the closing stages, and captain Ronald Araujo claimed the result shows how they are moving in the right direction under Xavi.
“We had many chances to score the second, or even the third goal. But, in the end, they didn’t score and Inaki did very well to keep a clean sheet”, as per reports from Marca.
“We know the team we have, we trust a lot in the work we do with the coach. The results have not come of late, but we did well in the Champions League, and we knew we had perform tonight.”
Barcelona have already secured their place in the Champions League last 16 in 2024 and up next for Xavi is a home league derby against second place Girona.
Images via Getty Images