Xavi: Barcelona fans should be proud despite Real Betis defeat

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

Xavi believes Barcelona's supporters will be "proud" of their team despite a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Real Betis on Saturday.

After LaLiga wins over Espanyol and Villarreal and a Champions League draw against Benfica, the result marked Xavi's first defeat in charge of the Blaugrana since he took over from Ronald Koeman.

Barca's tally of 23 goals in LaLiga this term is their lowest at this stage since the 2003-04 campaign when they scored 19, while their points total of 23 is their lowest since the same season (20).

Xavi refused to be too downbeat, though, and believed his side deserved more from the game, which was ultimately won by Juanmi's breakaway goal with 11 minutes remaining.

"It is a shame because we did not deserve to lose," he told a media conference. "We did not have the luck we had against Villarreal today.

"We cannot allow a goal like the one we have conceded but it is a shame to have lost because we deserved to win.

"I think the fans will be proud of the team. We played a very good second half and Betis' goal came when we were at our best.

"Sometimes you have to know how to make tactical fouls and prevent the opponent playing and we did not do that.

"Their goal bothers me a lot because a situation like this cannot happen to us.

"I have told the players that this is football and that I am proud of them. They have given everything and if anyone deserved to win the game it was Barca."

Barca's attention now turns to a crucial Champions League clash against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The Catalan giants are second in Group E, just two points ahead of Benfica, and they know the only way of guaranteeing their progression to the knockout stages is victory at the Allianz Arena.

"On Wednesday we will have to compete like animals in Munich because we are at risk of not making into the last 16," he said.

"But we depend on ourselves. It's easy; if we win we're in the round of 16 and if Benfica don’t win we're through.

"We'll go with everything and play like we did in the second half today. We will see how far that takes us."

Related items

  • Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne

    Ash Barty continued her fairy-tale run at the Australian Open, crushing Madison Keys to become the first local woman to reach the singles final in 42 years.

    The two-time grand slam champion continued her impressive form at Melbourne Park with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Keys on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

    Barty, the world number one, became the first Australian woman to reach the singles final at the tournament since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

    She can become the first to win the title since Chris O'Neil in 1978 when she faces either Danielle Collins or Iga Swiatek in Saturday's final, which she will undoubtedly start as favourite.

    Barty has dropped just 21 games on her way to the decider and the reigning Wimbledon champion was again ruthless against Keys, who lost her fourth grand slam semi-final in five such appearances.

    The 25-year-old Barty settled well and broke the Keys serve in the opening game.

    A powerful forehand created the opportunity before she delivered a cross-court winner off that wing to convert following a Keys drop shot.

    Barty only made two first serves in her opening two service games yet did not lose a point.

    Spurred on by a hopeful and enthusiastic home crowd, Barty's variety and depth – plus nine unforced errors in five games from Keys – helped her race into a 4-1 lead.

    Keys finally won a point against the Barty serve in the sixth game, the Australian forced to save a break point before sealing the opening set in 26 minutes courtesy of a forehand return winner down the line.

    The first real signs of nerves from Barty came in the fifth game of the second set, but she dug out a tough hold for 3-2.

    Keys had settled, but Barty grabbed the break she was after in the sixth game with back-to-back forehand winners.

    Barty looked calm throughout and that did not change as she served out the match in style, booking a spot in the final with a forehand winner.

    DATA SLAM: Brilliant Barty on verge of ending Aussie wait

    Barty has already ended one long wait – an Australian reaching the women's singles final at Melbourne Park.

    She is a win away from ending another by becoming the first Australian winner of the men's or women's singles title in 44 years.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Barty – 20/13
    Keys – 8/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Barty – 5/0
    Keys – 1/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Barty – 4/6
    Keys – 0/2

  • Rumour Has It: Juventus set for talks to thrash out Vlahovic deal Rumour Has It: Juventus set for talks to thrash out Vlahovic deal

    Dusan Vlahovic has drawn interest from Juventus, Arsenal and Tottenham among others.

    The 21-year-old has 18 months remaining on his contract and Fiorentina are keen to maximise their profit on him.

    Vlahovic has netted 38 goals in the past 18 months in Serie A.

    TOP STORY – FRESH TALKS ON VLAHOVIC DEAL

    Juventus are set for fresh talks on Thursday on a deal to sign Fiorentina's Vlahovic, reports Fabrizio Romano.

    The Serbia striker has attracted plenty of interest but an agreement between the Bianconeri and Fiorentina is in place.

    The stumbling block is Vlahovic's final contract and agent's fees, with a deal potentially set to trigger Alvaro Morata's exit to Barcelona, although Romano claims there are no new talks on that.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Goal claims that Barcelona are working on a plan to raise €100million (£83m) in funds to lure Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to the Catalan club. The Blaugrana are determined to win the race to sign Haaland despite interest from wealthy giants Real MadridManchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    - Bayern Munich's 32-year-old forward Thomas Muller has drawn interest from Newcastle United and Everton as he approaches the final year of his contract, claims Sport Bild.

    - L'Equipe claims that Bruno Guimaraes had told Lyon he wants to join Newcastle after the Magpies tabled a bid.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester United have put their search for a new manager on hold as they consider whether to make Ralf Rangnick's stay permanent.

    - Staying at United, numerous reports in England suggest Jesse Lingard is angry with the club as their demands have put off Newcastle's attempt to sign the player on loan.

    - Ousmane Dembele wants to stay at Barcelona after all, according to Sport. The France international's representatives met with Barca boss Xavi this week.

    - Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele is set to join Valencia on loan, reports Telefoot.

  • 'We'll see': Nash provides injury updates on Harden and Durant 'We'll see': Nash provides injury updates on Harden and Durant

    Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has provided injury updates on James Harden and Kevin Durant after reports that the latter would be out until after the All-Star Game.

    Harden missed Wednesday's 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets with "hamstring tightness" while Durant has not played since spraining his MCL on January 15.

    The Nets did not provide a timeframe on Durant's return although ESPN claimed it would be between four and six weeks.

    ESPN also reporting this week that Durant would miss the All-Star Game scheduled for February 20 although Nash did not confirm that.

    "We'll re-evaluate in the next week or so," Nash said at the post-game news conference. "We’ll see how his rehab goes and what the re-evaluations tell us."

    Durant is currently averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists through 36 games this season.

    Harden has averaged 23.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 10.1 assists this season, but is also averaging 37 minutes per game with the absences of Durant and Kyrie Irving impacting his on-court time.

    "I think we're all hopeful he'll play next game," Nash said about Harden with the Nets to play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

    "It's day to day, so we'll see. It's likely, probable and we're all very hopeful that he'll be ready to go."

    Cameron Thomas top scored with 25 points against the Nuggets, while Patty Mills impressed with 21 points, three rebounds and six assists.

    The defeat leaves the Nets with a 29-19 record having lost three in a row, slipping to fourth in the east.

    "Details. We're proud of the guys' effort, but details, we talked about them last night," Nash said.

    "Part of that, is we had some guys play together who've not played many minutes together over the last few years so there's some cohesion that is lacking and some understanding and familiarity lacking.

    "That's where we have to improve especially with guys out of the lineup."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.