El Clasico: Xavi remains upbeat amid fans criticisms

El Clasico: Xavi remains upbeat amid fans criticisms


Barcelona manager Xavi says understands the frustration of the fans on the back of their Champions League difficulties, but remains a “natural optimist”.

Barcelona are in danger of failing to make the knockout stages of the Champions League for a second straight season after their 3-3 draw with Inter on Wednesday.

It left the Blaugrana on four points, eight adrift of Group C leaders Bayern Munich and three behind Inter with two games remaining.

Due to Inter’s head-to-head record against the Catalan giants, the Serie A side will guarantee progression to the round of 16 with another three points from their two remaining matches.

Barca have enjoyed a strong start in LaLiga, winning seven of eight matches, and head into Sunday’s El Clasico against rivals Real Madrid ahead of the champions on goal difference at the top of the table.

Xavi, therefore, remains buoyed by the turnaround he has seen since taking over at Camp Nou 11 months ago, suggesting he would quit his post if he was not happy with the progress made.

“I understand the doubts, I know where I am. We couldn’t afford to slip up in midweek, and we did,” Xavi said in a press conference on Saturday.

“I understand how the Barca fans feel. I’m also disappointed and sad. I came here to turn the team around and we can manage that.

“If I ever feel I’m not capable of doing that, I’ll sit down here and I’ll say so.

“That’s the way I am, I’m a natural optimist. We’ve improved since last season. In LaLiga we’re going well, we haven’t lost a game yet.

“The season we’re having makes me believe I have reason to remain optimistic.

“I will not stop working and insisting on what I do. The day I don’t see it clearly, I’m going home. The day I don’t think I’m a solution, I’ll leave. It won’t be a problem. But now I’m fine.”

Xavi also stressed he has the backing of Barca president Joan Laporta, adding: “He conveyed total confidence to me. We’ve stood up to be counted in every game in Europe.

“The president is also very optimistic. The result the other day is a shame, as are the results in Milan and Munich. This year’s Champions League has been cruel to us. But we’re progressing well.”

Recent  El Clasico history is not on Barca’s side – they have lost five of their past six matches against Madrid in all competitions, as many defeats as they had suffered in their previous 18 meetings with Los Blancos.

Their only win in the last six games came in the second El Clasico last season, though, and it was an emphatic 4-0 triumph at the Santiago Bernabeu.