A fuming Xavi Hernandez has said Barcelona do not deserve to play in the Champions League. The Catalans settled for a six-goal thriller against Inter Milan at Camp Nou on Wednesday, October 12.
It was a nightmare for Xavi Hernandez at Camp Nou as Inter Milan capitalized on the Catalan’s defensive errors to hewn out a point which proved very costly for Barcelona’s chances of making it to the Champions League knockout stages.
After a defeat at the San Siro last week, Barcelona knew what was at stake coming into this game against Inter Milan.
Expectant Barcelona fans had already thronged into Cam Nou and plonked into seats agog as they awaited all three points from Xavi Hernandez’s star-studded and reengineered squad.
After Dembele netted the first goal in the first half, Camp Nou received the goal with a roar of joy mixed with hope.
The euphoria lasted untill the end of the first half as Barcelona held on to the lead and were still dominating possession despite going a goal up.
The narrative and mood in the stadium changed just 5 minutes into the second half.
It was Barella on the target for Inter Milan. The 25-year-old Cagliari-born Italian midfielder equalised for the visitors in the 50th minute.
Thirteen minutes later, Lautaro Martinez put Inter Milan ahead, to the surprise of Barcelona.
The Catalans had to devise all possible means to battle their way back into the game. The Serie A giants held on to their narrow lead against all pressure.
It was a high-pitched and highly physical game, with the visitors demonstrating character and resilience.
Barcelona’s second-half goal deadlock was broken in the 82nd minute with former Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski on the score sheet.
Barcelona had just two minutes left to nudge the game to their favor, but it was Inter Milan again retaking the lead, with one minute to the end of regulation time.
Gosens scored in the 89th minute to dampen Barcelona’s hope of getting even a point from the game.
Nevertheless, Robert Lewandowski completed his brace in the 92nd minute to rekindle the hope of qualifying from the group.
The game ended in a 3-3 draw, a disappointing result for Barcelona but an excellent result for Inter Milan.
From the permutations, Inter Milan’s chance of making it to the knockout round is very high compared to Barcelona’s.
Meanwhile, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez could not hide his fury after the result.
Xavi blamed costly defensive errors by his team for the result and went on to assert that Barcelona are not qualified to play in the Champions League since they could not defeat Inter Milan.
Speaking in a post-match press conference, Xavi said;
“If you don’t beat Inter at home, you don’t deserve to stay in this competition.”
Xavi confirmed that the result is a setback to the team’s rebuild efforts, which has seen the management sell out some assets to beef up the squad.
“Last season, we didn’t have enough to compete, but this season we did. This time it was our mistakes.”
He also bemoaned his disappointment and frustration after the result. He further emphasized that Barcelona does not deserve to play in the Champions League.
“I’m very disappointed, sad, frustrated… I’m angry. I have to be self-critical, we don’t deserve to play in the Champions League. It hurts me, but it’s the truth.”
Barcelona are unbeaten in La Liga this season and are top of the table, one point clear of second-place team Real Madrid. Improvement in the squad since the beginning of the 2022/23 football season has been visible.
However, the draw against Inter Milan is a significant setback to the efforts to rebuild the team.
Last season, Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League group stages and landed in the Europa League, the continent’s second tier league.
A similar fate may likely befall the team as things stand. It will be the first time since 1970 that Barcelona has played consecutively in the Europa League.
Meanwhile, there are reports of Joan Laporta’s anger after the result. Actions will be taken immediately, according to reports.
This is a disastrous step in anticipation of the El-Clasico this weekend. Xavi has to step up his game to weather the gathering dark clouds at Camp Nou or risk losing his job.