Barcelona boss Xavi makes an unexpected La Liga title prediction.
Barcelona manager Xavi gives surprising La Liga title assessment.
Despite being eight points ahead of Real Madrid in the table, Barcelona manager Xavi has claimed that Real Madrid remains the favourite to win La Liga.
On Sunday, the Blaugrana easily defeated Sevilla 3-0 at Camp Nou to increase their advantage over their arch-rivals, while Real Madrid suffered a shocking 1-0 loss away at mid-table Mallorca.
It’s difficult to imagine Barcelona ceding their dominant position after 20 games with just one loss and seven goals conceded. There is no time for complacency, and Xavi thinks Madrid’s position as the reigning champions still matters with little under half the season remaining.
“I see ourselves as candidates to win the league, but the favourite is always the defending champion. It’s Madrid, and we can’t lower our intensity at any moment. They can beat anyone,” the retired midfielder told reporters after Sunday’s win.
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“This team has the capacity to win every title we’re competing for. But we can’t only say it, we have to show it. Words mean nothing. There have been crazy comebacks in La Liga before. We have to avoid that at all costs.
“I still don’t think we’re the favourites for La Liga. We’re only in February, and we have tough matches upcoming. The euphoria is nice, but we have to be cautious. I don’t know if we’re the most reliable team in La Liga, but we’re in good form, sure. We can’t let our guard down. Our work is starting to show. The players believe in themselves and they believe in us.”
Xavi feels his squad were inspired by their Supercopa victory against Real Madrid in January, with Barcelona winning all six competitive matches since then by a 13-1 aggregate score.
“Beating Madrid in the Supercopa gave us a lot of confidence,” he added. “There were a lot of players that hadn’t won a title before that. As the good results come, the players start to believe more in the technical staff.
“We have to remember where we came from, where we were a year ago… to where we are now. Normally we struggle a lot against deep blocks but today we created a lot of chances.”
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