Xavi: ‘The Draw Against Napoli Leaves Me With a Bitter Feeling’


Barcelona boss Xavi admits that the 1-1 draw against Napoli in the Champions League left him feeling bitter about the result. The Blaugrana dominated the early part of the match and wasted a series of chances to take the lead before Robert Lewandowski eventually put the visitors ahead. An equaliser from Victor Osimhen late in the game leave the tie finally balanced ahead of the second-leg at the Nou Camp. Speaking in the post-match, Xavi admitted that his side had the chances to win the match, saying they lacked a bit of dominance at times:

“This draw leaves me with a bitter feeling because we could have won. We had possession and played very well in every phase of the match, except towards the end of the first half. After the 1-0, we lacked a bit of dominance, control of the game, and that’s a shame. Yesterday, I wouldn’t have settled for a draw, and not today either. I repeat, it’s a shame, but we have everything to advance to the next round. I am proud of the performance; we lack maturity in some phases of the game.

“For 3-4 minutes, we lost a bit of dominance, and we must avoid these pauses. Speaking of today’s game, we did very well. Maybe they are physically stronger than us, but we defended well and dominated, creating many goal-scoring opportunities. Gundogan also did well; I am left with bitterness: we deserved to win, that’s how the Champions League is.”

On the difference between the first and second halves: “In the first half, we lacked the composure to score. We had several important chances, Napoli didn’t have any until our 1-0. After that, more control would have been needed. We accept the draw, but playing like this, we can win a higher number of matches.”

Optimism for the return leg? “Yes, playing like this gives us more chances to qualify. We played a great game, both defensively and offensively. In the Champions League, if you give space, they score. I’m bitter because, as I said, we could have won.”

On the midfield with Christensen alongside Gundogan and de Jong: “I don’t think we had less fluidity in midfield; Christensen helped. But with Napoli’s attackers pressing, it wasn’t easy to find spaces to counterattack quickly.”

Difference between home and away games? “Yes, of course, we knew from the beginning of the season that it would be a difficult year away from Camp Nou. It’s not the same playing without Camp Nou; this shouldn’t impact us like this: imagine now going back to our home, it would be different for us and for the opponents. Before, it was 50% and 50%, now it’s different without playing at Camp Nou.”


Serie A obsessive.