Xavi Ridicules Talk About Barcelona Being Europa League Favorites. Barcelona defeated Napoli 5-3 on aggregate in the Europa League R32. Manager Xavi Hernandez, on the other hand, has downplayed talk of his team being favourites.
Barcelona won 4-2 at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday. Following their victory, they were widely regarded as the tourney’s favourites.
Following the game against the Serie A side, Xavi stated (via football-espana.net):
“The favourites to win the Europa League? Not at all. We have to continue working with all the humility in the world, we played a great game but we’re just in the round of 16 so far – nothing has been fully won here.”
The Catalan giants will face Galatasary in the Europa League Round of 16. They will be clear favourites in that tie. Despite Xavi’s cautious words about their odds of success in the tournament, many people believe they will go on to win it.
Xavi Hernández doing a really great job. Barcelona are ‘more than happy’ with their manager – already working on summer signings. 🔵🔴 #UEL
Barça are pushing on Cesar Azpilicueta deal, after two year deal plus option for furter season offered few weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/VwNLRzelks
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 24, 2022
Xavi’s modest statements will only strengthen Barca fans’ belief that the former player is the right man for the job. This is true in the sense of his complete transformation of the club in such a short period of time.
Barcelona was ninth in La Liga when the former Spain international took over in November. They appeared to be a bottom-feeding team, with unrest in both the dressing room and among the fans.
Xavi, on the other hand, has energized the team, trying to pull off some astute transfer business in January. He brought in Pierre-Emerick Aubemyang and Ferran Torres, and Barcelona is now fourth in the league table.
Their most recent 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid is possibly the most remarkable game under Xavi’s leadership thus far.
The club’s rumoured summer targets are in line with this outstanding change of direction, with more signs of Xavi’s imprint on the side visible.
Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland, Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta, and Andreas Christensen are all said to be targeted for the Catalan giants.
Xavi’s massive arrival at the club is clearly having a positive impact. Under his instruction, they will eventually be competing among Europe’s best teams in the UEFA Champions League.