Barcelona coach Xavi has revealed that tonight’s game against Valencia will be approached like a cup final.
The Catalan giants suffered a 1-0 defeat at Almeria in the league last weekend, but they remain top of the table, seven points clear of second-placed Real Madrid, while Valencia have had a disastrous campaign thus far, currently sitting 18th in the table on 23 points heading into the next set of fixtures.
Barcelona were knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United on February 23 courtesy of a 2-1 loss at Old Trafford, and they were unable to bounce back in La Liga, suffering a 1-0 defeat at Almeria in the league last weekend.
However, Xavi has insisted that the team will approach the game like a final.
“For us, tomorrow’s game is a final. Madrid play next and we can put pressure on them. We want the three points, we can’t make any more mistakes… and even less at home.”
Xavi assured that the arrival of Ruben Baraja at Mestalla has given “aggressiveness”, “intensity”, “solidarity” and “defensive order” to Valencia.
“They will be an opponent who, as they are in urgent need, will make things very difficult for us. We will have to be neat in attack. The win against Madrid was a boost to our morale and confidence, but now we have to take it to another competition, to La Liga. The moment of truth has arrived. We’re playing for two titles and the defeat against Almeria has to serve as experience for us,” he insisted.
Aware that Barça will face a low block, he asked his players to “go off script” and “take more risks”, because “if you do just enough, it’s difficult to generate attacking situations”.