Xavi: Barcelona not favourites for La Liga but could ‘win every title’
- Blaugrana eased past Sevilla last time out
- Eight points clear of Real Madrid
- Still in Europa League & Copa del Rey
WHAT HAPPENED? The Catalan giants enjoyed a productive weekend, with their 3-0 victory at home to Sevilla coming on the back of a shock 1-0 defeat for Clasico rivals Real Madrid away at Mallorca. Barca are now eight points clear at the top of the table, while also being through to the knockout play-off round of the Europa League and semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, with Xavi hoping that his team can continue to compete on multiple fronts this season.
WHAT THEY SAID: Xavi told reporters when asked where Barcelona stand at this stage of the season: “I see ourselves as candidates to win the league, but the favourite is always the defending champion. It’s Madrid, and we can’t lower our intensity at any moment. They can beat anyone. This team has the capacity to win every title we’re competing for. But we can’t only say it, we have to show it. Words mean nothing. There have been crazy comebacks in La Liga before. We have to avoid that at all costs. I still don’t think we’re the favourites for La Liga. We’re only in February, and we have any tough matches upcoming. The euphoria is nice, but we have to be cautious.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barca took 58 minutes to force a breakthrough against struggling Sevilla, with Brazilian winger Raphinha playing a crucial role in opening up the game as he scored one and teed up another for Gavi, justifying the club's decision to keep him at Camp Nou in January. Xavi said of the former Leeds star: “I was already satisfied with Raphinha’s performances, even when he wasn’t scoring nor assisting. He gives us a lot, and he’s an essential player for the team. Raphinha is starting to provide goals and assists. He’s outdoing himself, but he’s been doing well all season.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Barcelona will be back in action next Sunday when taking in a trip to Villarreal, with that contest carrying them into the first leg of a heavyweight showdown with Manchester United in the knockout stages of the Europa League.