Football: Barcelona needed a beating in order to grow, says Xavi after Champions League exit

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - FC Barcelona v Bayern Munich - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - October 26, 2022
FC Barcelona players look dejected after being knocked out of the Champions League as the fans react REUTERS/Albert Gea
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has called on his men to regroup so they can fight for other trophies at stake. PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA – At 19, midfielder Pedri is one of Barcelona’s youngest players. But the Spaniard was not afraid to call a spade a spade after the Catalan giants suffered another Champions League exit.

Barca lost 3-0 at home to Bayern Munich in Group C on Wednesday, a match they played knowing that they had already been eliminated from the competition after Inter Milan’s 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen earlier in the day.

Xavi Hernandez’s men, who have won only one of their five group games, will drop to the second-tier Europa League after ending up third in their group for the second straight year.

Labelling it a failure and a disappointment, Pedri said they are just not good enough to compete in Europe’s premier club competition despite a summer spending spree.

He told Movistar: “Of course, it’s a failure, Barca have to get out of the group and we haven’t because we didn’t deserve to continue in the Champions League. We are a very young team, with a lot of room for improvement, we have made great signings, but it has not been enough for us to compete in the Champions League and it’s a great disappointment.

“We lack many things, but we have to be self-critical. It is true that in Munich we deserved more, in Milan there were a couple of circumstances… but, after seeing what happened today, it has been seen that we are not prepared to compete in the Champions League.”

He was referring to their 2-0 loss at Bayern in September and a 1-0 away defeat by Inter earlier in October, the two sides who have qualified for the last 16 from the group. A 3-3 home draw in the reverse fixture with Inter two weeks ago then left their last-16 hopes hanging by a thread.

Xavi sought no excuses after their latest debacle, which followed their 3-1 La Liga defeat by Real Madrid last week.

“This is our reality and we have to face it. Maybe that’s what we needed, to be given a beating in order to grow,” said the 42-year-old, who had earlier admitted that his position would be under threat if they do not win titles.

“Today, it was already over, too late to do anything. The main reason that we got to this situation was because of our own mistakes in the previous games, we failed to be effective up front. We go out with a really bad feeling but we need to reset and reconnect to fight for the other trophies left.”

Bayern scored through first-half goals from Sadio Mane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, with Benjamin Pavard adding another late on as the German champions earned a sixth straight win over Barcelona.

A few supporters left at half-time but the majority of the 84,000 crowd stayed till the end as their team played their last Champions League game at the Nou Camp until at least 2024, with the team set to move to the city’s Olympic Stadium next season during renovations.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann hailed his team’s “mighty performance” but also had words of consolation for Barca, saying that they have a lot of potential and will have “a great Europa League”.


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