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Xavi comments on Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Barcelona: “Clear penalty on Raphinha”

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

After a two-week hiatus from international football, Barcelona were hoping to put their troubles behind them and start afresh against Rayo Vallecano.

But with the Spanish side once again proving too great a foe for Xavi and his men, the Catalan giants could only retreat with one point.

Reflecting on the match, Xavi gave his thoughts on Barcelona’s uninspiring 1-1 draw in hostile territory.

Despite trailing in the first half, the coach justified the Blaugranes’ approach, claiming the team’s dominance was overshadowed by their inability to make a difference up front.

“I think there were two halves; in the first, we dominated, but we didn’t go for the game. In the second half, we did what we wanted: dominate and create chances, and we scored a goal,” he said, as quoted by MARCA.

The coach went on to acknowledge the growing trend of Barcelona beginning the game with a deficit on the scoreboard and then having to scramble their way back up.

“This has happened many times this season and it is difficult to come back. We have to improve that,” he claimed.

Further emphasizing a need for retrospection, he argued “We must criticize ourselves and improve. We have to get very close to what we have been in the second half.”

Barcelona have been hard done by referees on a few occasions this season, with controversial calls hampering the team.

Speaking on whether the decisions went against their way this game, the 43-year-old exclaimed with a pinch of annoyance:

“On the first goal, I spoke with the flag referee. He told me that there was doubt, but in the end they awarded the goal. These are difficult situations going against us. There is also a penalty following a foul on Raphinha, but we should not stop there. With our level in the first half, it is time for self-criticism.”

“We are having trouble with referee decisions that are interpretable, we are not having any luck so far this season… Always having trouble,” he added.

A foul on Raphinha was not called as a penalty, and Xavi emphasized the incident, also going on to select moments from the past that hurt the team. He asserted:

“Then I’m told I’m looking for excuses, but the foul on Raphinha is a clear penalty. It happened to us in Getafe, in Granada and today. We lost because we weren’t good in the first half, and that’s no excuse, but it’s a clear penalty.”

Currently the reigning La Liga champions, Barcelona are placed third in this edition of La Liga. Xavi claimed a shifty of mentality is desperately required to once again compete for titles.

“In the first half we lacked the mentality of going for the game. If we want to win titles this season we have to change that mentality. The team’s mentality must change. We must go to win from the first minute.” he expressed.

“The second half was good but it wasn’t enough, we woke up late.”

Shedding light on some of the more positive takeaways from the game, Xavi praised Frenkie de Jong, who started his first game in two months and won the Man of the Match award.

“De Jong is a very important player in getting out with the ball and controlling the ball. He felt comfortable to play and was able to play 90 minutes, which is very important for the team.” Xavi affirmed.

Finally, signing off with assurance, the coach claimed his team will improve, stating:

“We can turn the situation around. There is still time.”

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