“Madrid is the favourite.” This is how forceful Xavi Hernández, Barcelona coach, has shown before the first leg of the Cup semifinals that will be played tomorrow at the Bernabéu (9:00 p.m., TVE). “Regardless of the fact that we won the Super Cup and our casualties, they have won the last titles last year, the League and the Champions League, and they come from thrashing in Liverpool’s field. We are in the process of being built, although we have grown, we continue to grow and we show our faces in all the games. We must be more of a team than ever, it is a game model match. You have to be very brave, you have to have personality, ”he added. To later qualify and add: “We have to win, that is our intention; Being protagonists with the model, having personality, taking the ball, controlling the details, dominating the game and avoiding their transitions”, Xavi concluded.
The Barcelona coach has tried to contextualize his team’s moment of play to argue his expectations: “You have to be aware of where we come from and where we are and, if we look at it from this point of view, I am euphoric because regardless of the elimination of Europe we have won a title, we are semifinalists of another and we are seven points ahead in the League. I therefore see the game as an opportunity. We find ourselves in a privileged situation and my challenge is that it doesn’t go wrong”, Xavi continued.
“Otherwise, I love our rivalry with Madrid,” he added. “I like it, it turns me on, it motivates me. That’s how I tell the footballers: you have to be brave, let them dare, because winning at the Bernabéu is a very nice feeling”. The absences of Dembélé, Pedri and Lewandowski condition, in any case, Barça’s aspirations: “If you look at the last two games – he specified after the defeats against Manchester United and Almería – we are in the hospital, but if you look at our situation in the League and the Cup, the film is being quite good”, reiterated the Barça coach.
“We, in any case, are in a construction process and Madrid have won the last titles and thrashed Liverpool. I have to be honest and say that he is the favourite, but we can hurt him. I see the tie tied”, commented Xavi. “We must be more of a team than ever, in defense, attack, strategy, avoid turnovers. It will be very good for us to win to have more confidence, but Madrid competes very well when the moment of truth arrives”. Xavi admitted anyway that he was “very angry the other day” for losing in Almería. “You have to make a clean slate.”
Xavi also praised Vinicius, “an exceptional player, decisive for Madrid, difficult to stop and who makes a difference because he has added a goal to his game”. And he congratulated himself on the atmosphere that lately surrounds the classics regarding the series played in 2011. “Then unnecessary tension was generated. Now fair play, respect and values predominate. We cannot set the bad example of that stage”, he finished, to insist again that the referees “never” have helped him when he was asked about the Negreira case.
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