Barcelona manager Xavi has opened up on the defensive approach his team took in their Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg clash with fierce rivals Real Madrid.
Real Madrid and Barcelona squared off at Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, and it was the Catalan outfit who emerged on top. Barcelona secured a 1-0 win over Real Madrid to gain an advantage heading into the second leg of the tie.
An own goal conceded by Eder Militao was the only goal of the game. However, despite the defeat, it was Real Madrid who dominated possession as Barcelona took more of a defensive approach to the game.
The Catalan outfit shut down Real Madrid’s attack in that game, restricting Carlo Ancelotti’s men to zero shots on target all game.
I would never betray my style, says Barcelona manager Xavi
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Xavi said Barcelona wanted to have more of the ball in their Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Real Madrid. He also said he would never betray the Barcelona DNA but stressed that teams have to adapt to situations in the game.
“We want to have the ball. But football is not a theatrical play, there is another team playing against you. Madrid did well, they had the ball. How do you take the ball away from Modric or Kroos? Like why do they say I was against Barça DNA? I would never betray my style,” Xavi said [via Barca Universal].
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“You have a game plan, but you have to adapt. Defending is a part of football. You have to adapt to the circumstances. Against Madrid, we had prepared to have the ball and long possessions. Then you have to adapt. It’s one of the parts of football.”
Barcelona are the favourites to win the La Liga 22/23 title ahead of defending champions Real Madrid. The Catalan outfit are now nine points clear of their El Clasico rivals at the top of the La Liga points table.
On Barcelona’s current position in La Liga, Xavi said: “Before the start of the season, we all would have liked to be nine points ahead in La Liga in March…”
Meanwhile, Barcelona will take on Athletic Club in a La Liga fixture in their next game. They will be aiming to earn all three points from the fixture and maintain their lead in the race for the La Liga title.
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