Barcelona Manager Xavi Hernandez has admitted that he must improve too, if the Blaugrana are to take the next step in European football.
Since arriving at the club, their league form has been contrasted by their European fate, which has been rather disastrous both on the pitch and for their accounts. Taking over from Ronald Koeman with three games to go in their Champions League group with three games to go, Xavi could not get past Benfica, and they were then eliminated by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
Last season Inter and Bayern Munich qualified from their group, and Barcelona were dumped out by Manchester United in the Europa League play-off. Xavi was asked if he himself was feeling the pressure to improve results.
“Me? Yes, always, I have to prove myself in every game, this is Barca. We all have extraordinary pressure but it is a challenge and I like challenges. They are challenges that I set myself as a coach and as a team. Convince the players and convey the enthusiasm to them so that they give their all.”
Xavi was keen to emphasize that if they took their La Liga form into the Champions League, they would be well set.
“I’ve been positive since birth. I don’t know if it is a virtue or a defect. I am excited, perhaps we have to halt the euphoria. We have done things well [against Betis] but we have to prove ourselves it every three days.”
Xavi: “Van Bommel? I have great memories of him, as a teammate and as a rival. Now we know that his team will be a very dynamic rival, with youth and experience.”
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) September 18, 2023
Xavi has been praised in general for his management of Barcelona, winning a La Liga title with shorter resources than usual and resuscitating the club from their weakest point in two decades. However their European showings have sewn seeds of doubt over whether Xavi can cut it at the top level as a manager.