Xavi talks Raphinha, Lewandowski, ter Stegen, Real Madrid following Barcelona 1-0 Celta

Following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Inter Milan during midweek, Barcelona needed to be at their level best tonight against Celta Vigo to get back to winning ways.

Starting with three left-backs as part of the back-four, Barcelona looked anything but their best as the match went on. While it is true, the first half was sharp and entertaining, the second half brought with it a ton of trouble.

The hosts were able to escape by the skin of their teeth, though, courtesy of a standout performance by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Following the game, Xavi was called on to speak to the press, and he admitted to Barça’s rather poor performance.

“We have to improve. The first half was good. We had to score a second goal and kill off the match there, though.”

However, it has been a while where Barcelona have won a game where they were visibly the second-best team on the pitch. These are the games that win you titles; three points that go a long way, and who knows it better than Xavi himself.

“It’s also important to win when you are not playing well. This is a bittersweet victory. We won, but we need to improve a lot”, he said.

Barcelona face a heavy schedule ahead as they lock horns against Inter Milan on Wednesday, and then vs Real Madrid on the weekend.

“It’s time to prepare for the Inter Milan game,” Xavi said. El Clasico is extremely important. But look, last year, we were not playing that well and we won comfortably. We hope that we can show the same personality again.”

The Barcelona legend did not forget to praise Celta, though, singing compliments of their pressing structure and defensive reselience:

“Celta takes the ball away from you at any time. They are a very tough team. Considering that, we are happy with the result, but not with the way we played.”

He explained the reason for benching Eric Garcia, and gave much-deserved flowers to Gerard Pique for yet another brilliant display.

“Eric had some minor discomfort, so we went with Marcos Alonso as the CB. Pique was very good.”

Speaking of praise, Xavi name-dropped ter Stegen for yet another man of the match display,

“Ter Stegen was spectacular!”, he exclaimed, but went on to criticise the media for the shifting of the narrative. “Two weeks ago, you said there Lewandowski-dependency. Not it’s ter Stegen-dependency, and in a few days it will be Pedri-dependency.”

As for Lewandowski, the Pole went without scoring in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Unfortunately, he did not get a ton of chances to, either.

“We need to get Lewandowski more involved in the game.”

Xavi then added late, “Lewandowski was uncomfortable in the second half; frustrated because the team did not find solutions. I still think he played a good game.”

Raphinha started the game well, creating a fair few chances before being subbed off. He evidently won a penalty in the first-half after Galan tripped him in the box, and was furious when it was not given. Xavi revealed that the Brazilian carried that frustration to the locker room at half-time.

“We had to calm Raphinha down in the dressing room. He was furious with the referee, and told me it was a clear penalty.”

As is the case so often with Barcelona, the international break evidently halted their progress and smooth run of form. Xavi refused to blame it on that completely, though.

“The international break may be a reason for our decline, sure. But we cannot pin it all on that. We have big matches, we are travelling a lot, and we have lots of injuries.”

Source: BarçaTV+

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