Barcelona manager Xavi laments ‘worst’ Champions League group stage in years
Barcelona manager Xavi bemoans ‘worst’ Champions League group stage in years.
Barcelona coach Xavi acknowledges that his team was not up to standard after being placed in “the worst Champions League group in years.”
Barca head into Tuesday’s game against Viktoria Plzen with no chance of progressing from the group stages for a second straight season, with Bayern Munich and Internazionale having advanced from Group C.
“We have nothing to play for, but this [Viktoria Plzen] is an important game,” Xavi said. “We want to end this competition well.
“We lack maturity. We have a lot of youngsters and we’ve had the worst Champions League group in years. We’ve had injuries. They’re not excuses, but that has hurt us. With respect to last season, we have a better squad and we have given a better image in Europe. But we haven’t been up to the task.”
There were high expectations for a Barcelona team that spent over €150 million on players during the summer transfer window, with Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, and Raphinha.
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But according to Xavi, Barca only has themselves to blame since they only managed one win and three losses in their five Group C games.
“We lost it [the chance to qualify] ourselves,” Xavi added. “We had the opportunity, and it has escaped us. There are details such as refereeing decisions and adverse situations, but you have to be self-critical.”
Possessing Barca in second place in LaLiga and having Europa League eligibility for the upcoming season, Xavi preferred to look forward with optimism.
“We have tried to compete in the Champions [League] and it wasn’t enough,” Xavi said. “The steps we have taken with respect to last year were smaller than we expected, but we have to be patient and keep working.
“We have to persist and there is no need to hesitate. We are in the Europa League. We are on the right path. The titles will be won in 2023, we have to wait to see if we have options.”