Barcelona targeting domestic trophies after Europa League exit - Xavi

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2023 by ESPN

Barcelona targeting domestic trophies after Europa League exit - Xavi

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said he is targeting a domestic double after being knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United on Thursday.

Barca lost 4-3 on aggregate to United over two legs, meaning the Catalan club will be left without European football in the month of March for the first time since 1999.

However, they remain eight points clear at the top of the LaLiga table ahead of Sunday's trip to Almeria and on Thursday travel to Real Madrid for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal.

"If we win La Liga, it would be a really good season," Xavi said in a news conference on Saturday.

"The message is to keep moving forward. It's in our hands. We are in a good situation -- as we are in the Copa. We want to win trophies. Winning those two would be a really good season.

"The biggest disappointment was being knocked out of the Champions League [in November], but now we have LaLiga and the Copa to focus on.

"We have already won the Supercopa, too. We hate losing, but we have to keep working hard and competing. The objective is to win trophies."

It's the second season running that Xavi's Barca have been knocked out of the Europa League after they were eliminated by Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarterfinal last year.

On top of being knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League in each season, it has led to criticism of Xavi's record in Europe.

"I have read hardly anything," he said. "[Criticism] does not affect me. If we had won the other day [against United], it would have been 'Barca are back,' which is also not the case.

"[The media] sensationalise. We could have won or lost ... now we pick ourselves up and go for LaLiga and the Copa, but we accept the criticism, of course."

Barca remain without the injured Pedri and Ousmane Dembele for the game at Almeria. Xavi said Dembele could return to training with the group soon but did not offer an update on Pedri.

Ansu Fati is also missing this weekend after bruising his knee in training on Friday, though he is expected be fine for the cup clash against Madrid. Ronald Araujo is fit despite going off against United.

Xavi's side can stretch their winning run in LaLiga to eight games against Almeria, who have lost their last three games and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.



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