Barcelona manager Xavi has responded to the criticism of their performance in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid and Barcelona squared off at Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, and Xavi’s men secured a 1-0 win over the home side.
Despite the result, Barcelona’s performance against Real Madrid attracted criticism from some quarters. Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said it was strange to see Barcelona play defensively.
However, Barcelona also managed to shut down Real Madrid’s attacking, restricting the defending La Liga champions to zero shots on target all match.
Barcelona manager Xavi on criticism of their performance in Copa del Rey semi-final first leg vs Real Madrid
Read More: Sergio Busquets Breaks All-Time El Clasico Appearance Record
Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s upcoming La Liga match against Valencia, Xavi responded to the criticism of their performance against Real Madrid.
Xavi admitted Real Madrid pushed Barcelona a lot and that they did not want that to happen. Xavi also suggested if it was another team who defeated Real Madrid 1-0 at Santiago Bernabeu, they would not be subjected to the criticism Barcelona have been subjected to.
“There is always noise around Barcelona. You have to know how to manage it from the inside,” Xavi said [via Barca Universal].
He added: “From the outside, I don’t know but from the inside our analysis that Madrid pushed us a lot, and we don’t want that. We were not able to maintain possession, but in big games, the opponent can sometimes dominate you.”
The Barcelona manager also said: “Barcelona is the toughest club in the world. You win 0-1 at the Bernabeu, and some are not convinced. If it happens to another team, it will be a national holiday. In Barcelona, you have to win and maintain 70% possession.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona sits at the top of the La Liga points table, ahead of defending champions and fierce rivals Real Madrid. Barcelona have a seven-point lead over Real Madrid, who sit second in the points table.
Barcelona will be aiming to maintain their lead in the race for the La Liga title with a win over Valencia, who languish at 19th in the points table.
The match between Barcelona and Valencia will kick off at 8:45 pm Indian Standard Time on March 5. Barcelona hosts the fixture.