Xavi: Barcelona’s ‘Confidence’ Crisis Continues after Antwerp Loss
Xavi Acknowledges Barcelona’s Confidence Woes Following Antwerp’s Historic Champions League Victory
Barcelona grappled with their second defeat in three days, conceding a significant win to Antwerp, marking the Belgian side’s inaugural triumph in the Champions League. This back-to-back loss, coming on the heels of their stumble against Girona in La Liga, has set off alarm bells within the Catalan club, casting a scrutinous gaze upon manager Xavi.
Antwerp, previously winless in their Champions League campaign, secured an impressive victory over the Spanish giants through goals by Arthur Vermeeren, Vincent Janssen, and a stoppage-time strike by George Ilenikhena. Despite Barcelona advancing as group winners, Xavi admitted to a deficit in confidence and inspiration among his squad, attributing their struggle to pivotal individual errors.
In a post-match address, Xavi refrained from criticizing his players while urging them to rally and exhibit more than their current display. He emphasized the weight of the Barcelona shirt, acknowledging the added pressure on the players and the imperative need to cope with it.
Amid reports suggesting pressure from club president Joan Laporta to field a strong starting XI, including notable figures like Robert Lewandowski and Ilkay Gundogan, Xavi dismissed such claims, countering the escalating tension surrounding the match as unnecessary.
Xavi reaffirmed his rapport with President Laporta and Deco, highlighting ongoing discussions and a shared positive atmosphere within the club. Despite recent setbacks, he expressed unwavering belief in his ability to steer the team toward a resurgence.