Xavi believes mistakes were the cause of Barcelona’s early Champions League exit rather than the team’s attitude or ability.
While things haven’t gone badly domestically for the Spanish club so far this season, their European campaign has been a disaster and their elimination from the competition was confirmed before they even played their fifth game.
Xavi’s side were handed a tough group, being drawn alongside Bayern Munich and Inter, and weren’t able to get the better of either side. They lost both of their matches to the German champions and were beaten away to Inter before drawing at home, being knockout out of this year’s competition as a result.
In each of those matches, they had their chances and weren’t outplayed by their opponents, instead being punished for poor finishing and defensive errors.
Looking back, Xavi says it was such mistakes that sealed their fate rather than the quality or mentality of the team, and he, therefore, feels optimistic about the future.
“It’s not a problem of attitude,” he said. “It’s our mistakes, our footballing maturity, knowing how to compete better, facing the competition with more faith… it’s a process. We lack maturity. We have a lot of youngsters and we’ve had the worst Champions League group in years.
“Last year the feeling is that we didn’t give it our all football-wise, and this year I think it’s been mistakes. The group was strong and we weren’t up to the task. Now, we have a better squad and we have given a better image in Europe, but we weren’t up to the task.
“We lost [the chance to qualify] ourselves. 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. We have tried to compete in the Champions League and it wasn’t enough. The steps we have taken with respect to last year were smaller than we expected, but we have to be patient and keep working.”
Not only was Xavi confident that Barcelona would soon turn things around, but he backed his side to start competing for major titles once again in 2023.
“It’s a matter of time,” he said.
“I’ve lived through the worst time in the club’s history, from 2000 to 2003, and the best. We have to believe. It’s not the time to doubt. It’s already happened to me as a player.
“We’re on the right track. The titles will be won in 2023. The titles will be decided in 2023. I’m very positive.”