Xavi slams Barcelona for lacking spirit, hunger, focus

Xavi Hernandez Slams Barcelona’s ‘Unacceptable’ Performance Despite Win

By Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens, ESPN Staff Writers

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández didn’t hold back in criticizing his team’s performance after they narrowly defeated LaLiga’s bottom-side Almería 3-2 on Wednesday, ending a three-game winless streak.

Captain Sergi Roberto scored twice, including an 83rd-minute winner, after Almería twice came from behind to level the score. Despite the win, Xavi expressed deep frustration with his team’s display.

“We suffered much more than I expected,” Xavi said in his post-game news conference. “We had 30 shots and gifted them two goals. The first half is unacceptable. As a coach you can’t accept that — I told [the players] that at half-time.”

Raphinha gave Barça a first-half lead, and although they eventually secured the win, Xavi was critical of the team’s spirit and intensity. He emphasized the need for more hunger and fight if they want to compete for trophies.

“We didn’t win [trophies] last year because of individual quality,” Xavi said. “We won them because we were a group, a family. We were aggressive, we defended together and we attacked well.”

The win against Almería moved Barcelona within six points of LaLiga leaders Girona and four behind Real Madrid, though both teams have games in hand later this week.

Xavi’s tough reflections on his team’s performance didn’t stop at the game itself, with him also addressing the decision to play a friendly against Club América in Dallas just 30 hours after the league match while stressing the need to sustain the club financially.

After returning from the U.S., Barcelona will have a brief break over Christmas before returning to action in LaLiga on Jan. 4 with a trip to Las Palmas.

It was a night of mixed emotions for Barcelona, and the pressure is on for Xavi to get his side back to their best ahead of the next phase of the season.

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