October 2, 2023

Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez expressed his dissatisfaction with his team’s performance despite their 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final.

Xavi, who won 25 trophies as a player with Barcelona, felt that Real Madrid remained the favourites to progress to the final, despite Barcelona securing a slender advantage in the first leg.

Xavi praised his team’s solid defensive performance, which saw them concede no goals and limit Real Madrid’s attacking opportunities.

However, he expressed his concern about Barcelona’s inability to keep the ball and dominate possession. Barcelona had only 35.3% of the possession in the game and completed just 309 of their 380 passes.

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Xavi stated that he was not satisfied with the result and that his team needed to improve their possession game in the second leg. He emphasised the importance of winning duels and keeping the ball to avoid giving the opponent dominance.

“I’m not satisfied… It’s not the percentage we’re looking for,” he said.

“The result is very positive. I’m happy with the work, solid defence, we minimised Real Madrid on their field. The game was difficult.

“The victory is tremendous [but] we didn’t know how to keep the ball, it was difficult for us to win duels. We defended well without the ball and fought well without the ball.

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“The people are supportive. I am satisfied, but we have to improve in our game with the ball. We cannot give the opponent dominance.

“I am satisfied with the result but not so much for the match.”

Despite Xavi’s reservations, the win is a much-needed boost for Barcelona, who are currently fourth in La Liga and looking to secure their first Copa del Rey title since 2018.

They will be looking to build on their first-leg advantage and secure their place in the final when they face Real Madrid again at Camp Nou on April 5.

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