Following Barcelona’s loss to Bayern Munich and their elimination from the UEFA Champions League, Javi Miguel of Diario AS has provided an insight into the mood within the dressing room during and after the contest at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The Catalan giants learned of their exit from the competition ahead of the kickoff against Bayern after Inter Milan defeated Viktoria Plzen 4-0 earlier on the night.
With their fate sealed, Xavi is believed to have tried to motivate his players by appealing to their pride as he was aware that it would be difficult to put up a strong performance in that situation, especially against a top side like Bayern Munich.
Having seen his team being outplayed in the first half, the manager, as per the report, once again appealed to his players to step up during half-time, urging them to perform for the 80,000+ fans who had showed up at the stadium even though the team was eliminated already.
However, that too did not have the desired effect as the Blaugrana were largely listless yet again and failed to make any inroads, eventually falling to a 3-0 defeat.
After the match, Xavi took the team out on the pitch to thank the fans for their support, following which he addressed his players in the dressing room.
And, as per the report, the 42-year-old is believed to have criticised the performance of his players, without pointing to any particular individual, stating that the display was a ‘step backward’.
The manager is also reported to have told the team that they were ‘far inferior to Bayern’ and stressed that they ‘cannot compete in Europe’ if the performance levels are like this, while also adding that the ‘fans did not deserve this’.
However, after reproaching the players, Xavi is understood to have tried to fire them up by pointing out that the season is still a long one.
He further stressed the importance of winning La Liga now, stating that it is ‘the top priority’ now and that they should be prepared to ‘fight till death’ to win the title.