BARCELONA: La Liga leaders Barcelona are the hardest club in the world to manage due to their critics always being ready to snipe at them even after big wins, coach Xavi Hernandez said Saturday.
Barcelona beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday at the Santiago Bernabeu, but were criticised for only having 34 percent possession.
Xavi said the demands on his team to play good football as well as winning games and lifting trophies meant his job was trickier than any other in the game.
“You beat Real Madrid 1-0 and it seems that it’s not convincing enough, whereas if it was the reverse there would be a national party,“ Xavi told reporters.
“So it is the hardest club in the world. Now you believe me? I said it last year and got bashed for it.
“At Barcelona you have to win and convince, to have 70 percent of possession and create 16 chances while the opponent makes three.
“That is the objective, and that is our objective, but you have to understand that there is an opponent who is the reigning La Liga and European champions, and we’re competing with them.”
Xavi said it was “absurd” to criticise Barcelona for not keeping the ball when they faced a Madrid side pressing them high up the pitch.
“We did not want to set up in our box, Madrid pushed us there, that wasn’t our objective for the game,“ said Xavi.
On Sunday Barcelona face Valencia in La Liga, where they have the chance to move 10 points clear before Real Madrid face Real Betis.
Last weekend Barcelona missed a chance to extend their advantage as they lost 1-0 at Almeria.
Valencia, 18th, recently appointed Ruben Baraja as coach and they beat Real Sociedad 1-0 last weekend to bolster their bid to escape relegation.
“They defend well with Baraja, they are more aggressive, generous in their defensive work, very fast,“ said Xavi.
“We come from the Almeria defeat, we have to change the mindset from the cup. We want three points but the opponent arrives in need too, they have a lot on the line.” - AFP