Salem Radio Network News Saturday, December 9, 2023


Soccer-Level-headed Xavi relishing 100th game as Barca coach

(Reuters) – Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez is taking things in his stride with the Spanish champions as he prepares to celebrate his 100th game as their manager at Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old said that at Barca he had learned to compete in different ways and deal with things more naturally.

“I have learned not to be too euphoric when things are going well or too defeatist,” Xavi told a news conference on Tuesday.

“I think I have to be emotionally stable, especially for the players. I think I’m pretty balanced emotionally and I try to transmit that,” he added.

The Group H leaders gave Antwerp a 5-0 thrashing in their opener and Xavi pointed out how important it was for Barcelona to be a force in Europe’s elite club competition again.

Barca have failed to get out of their group in the past two seasons after losing in the last 16 in the 2020-21 campaign.

“We have to get back to showing the football we have played in Europe. We haven’t done that in recent years. It’s an ideal stage to do that,” he said.

“There is faith, there is hope that we can be at the level required to play and coach Barca. But we’ll see. We think so, but we have to prove it. It’s an ideal match, against a historic club on a great stage.”

The Spaniard also spoke about Barca’s recruitment this season and how a mix of youth and experience helps the squad.

“Experience like (goalkeeper Marc-Andre) Ter Stegen, (Robert) Lewandowski, (Ilkay) Gundogan and youngsters like Lamine (Yamal), (Alejandro) Balde, Fermin (Lopez). This makes the team flow. The mix of both is good for us,” he noted.

“Many players have more years of experience, we’ve been working with them for longer, and (we’ve) have made good reinforcements”.

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)


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