Xavi Hernandez responds to questions over Barcelona morale ahead of El Clasico

Barcelona struggled in midweek and find themselves staring into the face of elimination from the Champions League. There is little time for them to lick their wounds, as they face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

They go into the match as league leaders but with the likes of Memphis Depay, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Hector Bellerin injured, many have Real Madrid as favourites for the match.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez was asked if he thought the Inter match would affect them in terms of morale.

“Honestly, it’s unpredictable. I think it is the match where the dynamics affect you the least, because you are so focused on El Clasico. Last year we showed as much. We arrived at the Clasico in a bad moment and it went well.”

“We will see how it goes tomorrow. We will try to compete and take the three points. But honestly, it is unpredictable.”

“It can be used as a reference point to be brave, to have the ball in the opposition half… they feel comfortable in a low block and a medium block in order to come out on the counter but we also have to be in a block and attack in the right way. It is what we like. We have to have personality. We come into it in a good moment in the league, we are top of the table and we have to take advantage of that.”

Xavi seemed keen also to stress that this was an opportunity for his players rather than a daunting task. Equally he explained that these games were the ones to look forward to as a player.

The Catalan was certainly keen to send a message of optimism to his squad. Whether they buy that state of mind after a damaging defeat will be in evidence in El Clasico.

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