FC Barcelona Head Coach Xavi Laments ‘Very Big Disappointment’ After Manchester United Europa League Exit

FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has lamented a “very big disappointment” suffered by his team after they lost 2-1 in a Europa League playoff second leg against Manchester United on Thursday.

Barca went ahead early thanks to a Robert Lewandowski penalty and were generally excellent in the first half.

In the match’s second instalment, however, they were bullied by the hosts then succumbed to two strikes by Brazilian duo Fred and Antony to lose 4-3 on aggregate.

“Matches in Europe are decided by small details and we have not controlled them. That’s why we’re out,” Xavi accepted in his post-match interview.

“The feeling is that we have been much better than last season, but we have lost to Bayern [Munich], Inter [Milan], Manchester. We have not measured up. We have to try to be more competitive and make an important self-criticism to try again next season,” Xavi said, in reference to fresh failures in Europe in the Champions League and its inferior cousin Barca exited this evening.

“It’s a shame because the team has shown its face and deserved more. They are physically very strong. We could have dominated the game more,” Xavi reflected, before attempting to look forward.

“The only positive thing is that on Sunday we already have a game and we have to focus on Almeria and on Thursday in the semifinal of the cup.

“There are two titles left and we want to win them because they are very important for the club,” he concluded.

While the Catalans take on Almeria away at the weekend in La Liga, where they enjoy an eight point lead over Real Madrid, a two-legged semi-final in the Copa del Rey awaits against their bitter rivals.

As Xavi said, the first leg will be played at the Bernabeu on March 2 before the return fixture is scheduled for April 5 at Camp Nou.

Barca cannot let this setback affect them mentally, at the same time Los Blancos will be buoyed by a roaring 5-2 comeback win over Liverpool in a Champions League last 16 first leg meeting at Anfield on Wednesday.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2023/02/23/fc-barcelona-head-coach-xavi-laments-very-big-disappointment-after-manchester-united-europa-league-exit/