Barcelona had not football this beautiful in a very long time as they grilled Royal Antwerp 5-0 at home for the opening matchday of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League season.
This was their second successive 5-0 win after the stellar performance against Real Betis on the weekend.
The Catalans had the game in wrap after the first half as Joao Felix opened the scoring in the 11th minute before Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha (through an own goal) followed. Gavi struck in the 54th minute, and Felix then put it to bed through the fifth.
Xavi was evidently proud following this game and last, and said it was his best spell yet “as Barça’s manager.
“Very happy with the result. Saturday and today were my best games as a coach. An improvement in the way we play. It is a pride to see the team like this. We must continue,” he said.
Xavi also added, “The most important thing is to continue at this level and with the same enthusiasm and desire. Our positional attack was bad last season, but we have improved this season.”
On Gundogan, Cancelo, and Felix
Important parts of these games were Joao Cancelo and Ilkay Gundogan, both previously from Manchester City. Xavi commented on their past under Pep Guardiola, saying, “Gundogan and Cancelo come from Guardiola, and we know how well his team plays football.”
“Gundogan is a great player. You do not need to give him a lot of instructions. He knows how to play easily and without complexity. Same with Cancelo. They are a great addition,” he added.
Xavi also spoke about Felix, who has won back-to-back Man of the Match awards for Barcelona – both in his first two starts at the club, and said, “Felix understands his role perfectly.”