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Xavi looks ahead to “very important game” with Inter Milan

Xavi looks ahead to “very important game” with Inter Milan

Barcelona boss Xavi has said that Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Inter Milan will not be “decisive” but has detailed the importance of securing all three points against the Italian giants.

The Catalan outfit opened their Group C campaign with a 5-1 win over Viktoria Plzen, but they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich last time out, which has left them second in the section on three points.

Inter also have three points from their opening two games, with the Italian outfit looking to move above their opponents with a victory on Tuesday.

A disappointing start to the 2022-23 Serie A campaign has left Simone Inzaghi‘s side down in ninth position in the table, and they have lost their last two in the league against Udinese and Roma.

However, Xavi is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing his team in the European contest.

Barcelona coach Xavi during the match on April 18, 2022© Reuters

“For us it’s a very important game, not decisive, but very important. After losing against Bayern we need these three points. We will try to dominate against Inter and take advantage of the fact that they are not in their best form,” Xavi told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

“Maybe they will be more aggressive, tougher in defence because of this difficult moment they are going through, but we have to impose our game. Tomorrow we have to play like we did in Munich, but we need to be more effective.

“Inter have strikers who play very well in space, they are very strong defensively. They are a very important team. We haven’t been lucky in the group.

“Inter in a bad moment? It’s not significant for me. I’ve played many games in which we were the favourites and we did badly. Inter have a very different system compared to the teams we’ve played this season.

“Inter play with two strikers, which is not usual in La Liga. We are in the worst Champions League group. We are in a good dynamic and we are having good results, but we have to show it in every match.

Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their first goal with Jordi Alba and Gavi on October 1, 2022© Reuters

“Getting three points tomorrow is vital for the future of the competition and that’s why we’re going to show that we can win at a stadium like this.”

Xavi was also asked about his XI for the contest but refused to reveal which players would be in the starting side at San Siro.

“Tomorrow’s XI? I have it in my head. We want to dominate and play in the opposition’s half, which is what we’ve been seeing from the team in recent months. It’s not a decisive match, but it’s very important for the future of the group,” he added on Monday afternoon.

Frenkie de Jong is one of five first-team players absent for the match through injury, with Memphis Depay, Jules Kounde, Hector Bellerin and Ronald Araujo also ruled out for the visitors.

Barcelona will enter the match off the back of a 1-0 victory over Mallorca on Saturday, with Robert Lewandowski hitting the winner in the first half, and they are currently at the top of the La Liga table with 19 points to show from their opening seven matches.

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