Barcelona’s 4-2 loss to Girona has again led some to question whether Xavi can take the team to where they want to go. Barcelona looked to have turned a corner after wins against Porto and Atlético Madrid, but it seems that it is a case of two steps forward, one step backward.
Xavi has now been in charge for more than two years, yet he continues to speak of a process and how his team is “in construction.” Conversely, Girona manager Míchel has been in charge of his side for just four months more, but look where they are. From gaining promotion from the second division in 2022, they are now top of La Liga, and not by luck.
Despite winning the La Liga title last year, there are some who believe Xavi has not been able to improve the team or the players despite the vast array of talent that he has at his disposal. Beyond disgruntled fans, Xavi has bigger problems. Even those within the club have come out against the team at times. After Barcelona’s El Clásico loss, Ilkay Gundogan sparked controversy after he questioned the team’s reaction to the loss. Now, after the loss to their Catalan rivals, Frenkie De Jong was not of Xavi’s opinion who believed his team “deserved to win.” Instead, the midfielder, in his post-match interview adapted from AS, said, “It was our fault. We are really disappointed.” The comments also come after Barcelona sporting director Deco contradicted Xavi’s suggestion that his side was the better team.
Xavi’s position at the club is not thought to be in danger, and he is still believed to have the backing of the hierarchy, but improvements are needed quickly if he wishes to have their continued backing. His insistence that his team is playing well is seemingly not shared by many. His ‘project’ will need to bring better results in the near future.
GSFN | Finn Entwistle