Xavi predicts underdogs who can win La Liga

Xavi expressed unwavering certainty when questioned about whether the Catalan underdogs could emerge victorious in La Liga

By Web Desk
December 09, 2023
Xavi Hernandez- REUTERS

Barcelona will confront high-flying Girona in La Liga this Sunday, and Barca manager Xavi Hernandez is confident that this season's unexpected contender has a genuine chance of clinching the title.

Girona, having suffered only one defeat, currently share the same number of points as the leading team, Real Madrid. Meanwhile, last season's champions Barcelona are trailing four points behind the top two, securing the third position.

In a discussion with journalists on Saturday, Xavi expressed unwavering certainty when questioned about whether the Catalan underdogs could emerge victorious in La Liga.

"I have already said that against the odds and surprisingly, they can do it," he said.

"I like them because they're brave, they're not afraid."

Girona's ascent to the summit of the table has caught many off guard, but Xavi is not one of them; he was brimming with praise for Barcelona's upcoming adversaries.

"It's a great game. Girona, surprisingly for many people, are leaders, or co-leaders. But for us it's no surprise."

"They're a dynamic team, with a great coach, a system similar to ours, they want to have the ball, they want to be the protagonists - they put pressure on you. I congratulate the coach and the team."

In the previous season, Girona secured a 10th-place finish, yet managed to draw 0-0 against Barcelona at Camp Nou and suffered a 1-0 loss in their home match. However, this current Girona team presents a different challenge, making it more challenging to anticipate their approach to this upcoming game.

"Girona last season at our home put pressure on us, and in Montilivi, they closed down. We'll see tomorrow," Xavi said.

"We have prepared the game with several scenarios. They have more variants and individualities. They've improved a lot from last year."

Barca passed a challenging test last weekend with a 1-0 victory against Atletico Madrid. Prior to that, a 2-1 win against Porto ensured their spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League, setting the stage nicely for Sunday's crucial match.

"We've done very well, in terms of morale and confidence. We had two games that were two finals," Xavi said.

"Tomorrow they are a direct rival with a four-point advantage. Tomorrow we have to prove ourselves again."

Barca's goal against Atletico was netted by Joao Felix, a player on loan from the Madrid club, and Xavi will be wishing for a different outcome in Sunday's match.

Girona have two players loaned from Barca, and although Pablo Torre is prevented by a clause from competing against his parent club, Eric Garcia, who joined on loan late, is eligible to play against Barcelona.

"I would put the clause on everybody. I think it's illogical for your own player to play against you," Xavi said.

"He will be extra motivated, as happened with Joao Felix."