Barcelona went all guns blazing for their Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk, and seemed extremely uncomfortable as goals from Ferran Torres and Fermin Lopez put them comfortably ahead at the break.
However, Barça lost all momentum, and the flurry of missed chances across the first hour or so came back to haunt them as Shakhtar pulled one back.
Eventually, though, the Catalans earned all three points from the game despite a very nervy final thirty minutes or so.
Xavi was once again, critical of the performance after the game. As relayed by Gerard Romero, he said, “Today I have to be more understanding than ever. It was a game that we were considered winners and we had a difficult opponent. We have complicated ourselves. There has been a lack of effectiveness to win comfortably.”
“We deserved to win 4-1 or 5-1. But it was one of the most physical matches since I arrived. In general, I’m happy.”
Fermin put in an excellent shift and ended up winning the Man of the Match award for his performance. Xavi waxed lyrical about the 20-year-old, praising him, “I really like Fermin Lopez. He is a player who could be at Barcelona for many years. These are very big words.”
He also shared an update regarding Joao Felix, who was subbed off due to knee injury in the second half.
“Joao Félix is not injured. It’s a blow. There will be no problem for him to be there for El Clásico,” Xavi said, as was relayed by the Portuguese himself.
He also added, “If we bring back one of the injured players for El Clásico, it will be very positive, but we will not force anyone. Everyone is doing their part to try to catch El Clásico.”
The gaffer also had kind words for Inigo Martinez, who has put in back-to-back tremendous shifts in central defence, and was once again, one of the best players on the pitch.
“I am very happy with Íñigo. That is why we signed him, he has leadership, character, and changes of orientation. He finds the players between the lines very well and is a decisive footballer for the team.”
He concluded by saying, “We have competed in the 3 Champions League games. Going 9 out of 9 points is not a relief, it is a reward. We have worked very well.”