Barcelona supervisor Xavi Hernandez has praised his aspect’s efficiency in opposition to Real Madrid on Wednesday despite dropping 3-2 after further time in an exhilarating Spanish Super Cup semi-final in Saudi Arabia.
Federico Valverde struck the winner in the 98th minute as Madrid recorded their 100th Clasico victory after Luuk de Jong and Ansu Fati canceled out objectives from Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema.
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However, on a day when Pedri and Ansu returned from long-term accidents and Ferran Torres signed for €55m to make his Barca debut, Xavi was pleased with what he noticed in the defeat.
“I’m sad and angry because the game was there for us,” the Barca coach mentioned in his post-match press convention.
“We performed with a posh in the primary 20 minutes, however we overcame that. It was a day to be courageous. This Barca group can compete with anybody. We did not get the consequence we needed, nevertheless it was a cheeky step nonetheless.
“The emotions are contradictory as a result of we might nearly contact the victory. I’m unhappy as a result of it is a Clasico defeat and we miss a trophy, however we dominated Madrid for lengthy durations.
“We lack expertise, endurance, duty. We made errors. We might have stopped [Madrid’s] blocks and was extra accountable with the ball. But we’re shut. »
Barca recorded 20 photographs in opposition to Madrid’s 14 on the King Fahd Stadium and recorded 53% of possession. Madrid had the most effective likelihood, nonetheless, with Benzema hitting the publish in the second half and Rodrygo Goes lacking a late likelihood to make it 4-2 in further time.
Carlo Ancelotti disagreed with Xavi’s evaluation of play however he gave Barcelona credit score for his efficiency in Riyadh.
” I don’t agree [with Xavi]the sport was even, that they had extra possession and we used the counter,” mentioned the Madrid coach.
“In the primary half we deserved to win, we conceded with a little bit of unhealthy luck. The second half was extra balanced however I do not assume Madrid overpowered Barca or Barca overpowered Madrid.
“We went all the way down to benefit from the meter. The counter was environment friendly. We had some high quality motion – all three objectives had been spectacular. A balanced recreation, truthfully. It was a great present, we gave a great impression of Spanish soccer. In my opinion, Barcelona performed properly too. »
Madrid, who will face both Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in Sunday’s closing, welcomed Dani Carvajal to the squad as they beat Barca however misplaced David Alaba to a late harm.
“We hope Alaba will be available for the weekend,” Ancelotti mentioned.
Barca midfielder Pedri got here off the bench in the second half to make his first look since September after recovering from a thigh harm, whereas Ansu scored his fifth aim of the season as he was getting back from a hamstring drawback that had sidelined him since November.
There have additionally been full debuts for Torres, who signed for Manchester City this month, and Xavi believes the three gamers shall be key to the membership’s hopes of ending in La Liga’s high 4 this season. They are at present sixth.
“These three are going to help us a lot,” Xavi mentioned. “Pedri and Ferran want minutes and recreation tempo after timeouts, however Ansu got here straight again with a aim. All will contribute massively this season. »
While Madrid stay in Saudi Arabia to arrange for Sunday’s closing, Barca can have a free weekend. They shall be subsequent in motion in opposition to Athletic in the Copa del Rey subsequent Wednesday.
ESPN FC correspondent Alex Kirkland contributed to this report.