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Xavi says Wednesday’s clash with Inter Milan is “a final”

Xavi says Wednesday’s clash with Inter Milan is “a final”

Barcelona boss Xavi has refused to play down the importance of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Inter Milan.

The Catalan giants suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Italian side at San Siro last week, with the result leaving the La Liga club in third position in Group C, boasting just three points from their three matches.

Barcelona are three points behind second-placed Inter and six from leaders Bayern Munich, and another defeat for Xavi’s side on Wednesday would leave them in a vulnerable position in the group.

The 42-year-old has said that his team are in “an uncomfortable situation”, with the contest on Wednesday night “a final” for the five-time European champions.

“We expect Inter to play very similar to how they played in Milan. They have a low block, but we have alternatives. We are ready, we have to look like the Barça of the last 20 minutes in Milan. It’s a final for us,” Xavi told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

Barcelona boss Xavi on August 13, 2022© Reuters

“Tomorrow’s game is crucial, we haven’t done our homework and now we have a chance to pull ourselves together in the group. We’re in an uncomfortable situation but we’ll give it all.

“We need to attack better. I think in the first half we didn’t understand the role of Marcos Alonso and Raphinha. We have to be more vertical, more aggressive.

“We must not let our guard down. There is talent, there is a desire for revenge, so we have to give everything to win tomorrow.

“Tomorrow we have to be calm, to know how to position ourselves, we don’t need to score in the first minute. I always tell the players that the pressure is on me. We have to be patient, but if we attack like we did in the second half in Milan, I’m optimistic.

“For me, playing well means having the ball, and attacking, but I understand other methodologies. That’s why I wasn’t satisfied against Celta.

Robert Lewandowski in action for Barcelona on September 17, 2022© Reuters

“Let’s be optimistic that it will be positive. We want to justify that we were the best and deserved more. I hope our anger will help us to play a better offensive match.”

Robert Lewandowski has scored 12 goals and registered two assists in 11 appearances for Barcelona during the 2022-23 campaign, including three goals in three Champions League outings.

The 34-year-old has failed to register in hit last two outings, though, and Xavi has said that the team have not played to the striker’s strengths in the last few matches.

“It’s not Lewy’s day, it’s the team’s day. He has to be important but not just tomorrow, every game. We have to take a step forward with Lewy,” Xavi added. “We have to play more with him so that he feels more comfortable. We haven’t played much with him in the last few games.”

Barcelona recorded a 5-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in their Group C opener on September 7 before losing back-to-back games away from home against Bayern and Inter.

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