FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez refused to agree that his team is facing a crisis and stressed that he is used to the criticism he receives ahead of a La Liga meeting with Alaves at the Montjuic Stadium on Sunday.
Barca surrendered their unbeaten records in La Liga and the Champions League recently through losses to Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk either side of an unflattering 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.
Local papers such as SPORT have spoken of a “crisis” taking place, but Xavi turned down the opportunity to get his feathers ruffled.
“The worst moment was last year,” he pointed out. “What is happening now is not a crisis, it is a two-game slump. We know what has happened to us and we have to recover it [our form].”
Asked how he is all things considered, Xavi answered: “I’ve been beaten up all my life. I’m immune. We have to accept the criticism because we haven’t been good.”
That isn’t to say he hasn’t been affected by the recent rut, however, confessing that he feels things “three times as much”.
“When we don’t win it affects me more, but I’ve had to live it like that for many years.”
On how he is trying to boost morale across the squad and return them back to winning ways, Xavi revealed: “I try to convince with ideas. I’m not one to shout. I wasn’t heavy-handed before, and I’m not weak-handed now. It’s a matter of order.”
Changing track from midweek when his men lost 1-0 to Shakhtar in Hamburg, Xavi now believes that his team has “more of a footballing problem” than a mental block.
“I think it’s coming because we’re not organized on the field … It’s a great locker room, they want to win,” Xavi said.
As for the task at hand in 14th-placed Alaves, Xavi said that Barca is “looking forward to the game”.
“We haven’t been good in the last two matches. We have to be well organized and true to our identity,” he insisted.
“We’re playing against an intense team. We must demand the utmost from ourselves.”
While Xavi can’t yet count on Frenkie de Jong, SPORT reported that Pedri is expected to make his first start since August 20 at the Montjuic Stadium.
“Frenkie will be ready for Rayo and Pedri is 100 per cent fit,” the manager stated regarding this.