Visit of Shakhtar is 'vital' for coach Xavi

Visit of Shakhtar is 'vital' for coach Xavi

The Barça coach is not looking for excuses with players missing against a Ukrainian side who will 'not make it easy'

On Wednesday FC Barcelona have an important challenge: taking all three points in the clash with Shakhtar Donetsk at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. A win for Xavi Hernández's team would go a long way to booking a place in the knock out stages of the Champions League as it would maintain their 100% record in group H following wins over Antwerp and FC Porto in their opening two fixtures. 


Coach Xavi Hernández does not want his team to be distracted by Saturday's Clásico against Real Madrid in La Liga, emphasising the important nature of Wednesday's Champions League fixture in his pre-game press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva. "For us it is a vital game and really important in terms of getting out of the group. The three points tomorrow against Shakhtar are key for our objective," said the Barça coach. 

He added: "This is the Champions League, the biggest competition there is for clubs and for us getting 9 points from 9 is very important. I don't need to take anyone's mind off Saturday's game against Real Madrid because the Champions League makes you focused and switched on." 

More from Xavi:

No easy task 

"We are focused on tomorrow's game because it will not be easy. Shakhtar are a dynamic side, strong and I think they can cause us problems. We can't lose our focus." 

"Shakhtar are in a difficult situation, it's uncomfortable, far from their families. Speaking only in footballing terms, they have changed coach and now they have Srna who I know well and respect a lot. The team has quality players even though perhaps they are not well know and technically they are very good." 

"I remember Chigrinsky with fondness. It was not easy for him to adapt, a change of culture and also there was a lot of competition in the side, But as a person he was great." 

Players missing

"I remain optimistic that some of them will make Saturday's game." 

"Pedri is coming along as we thought. He feels how he feels, that is what you go by as a player day by day. We want to try to avoid a relapse so we have to tread carefully." 

"We have a lot of players out but that is not an excuse. The team can compete, play good football and win. The style won't change at all." 

"We will miss Gavi [suspended], especially against a good, technical and physical side like Shakhtar." 

The importance of la Masia

“La Masia has always been a part of the best Barça sides in history. We have taken a lot from it. It is an honour to have a youth system that works so well and there is a great generation coming. We have to take advantage because home grown players give you that bit extra." 

Gündoğan, a rock

“Gündoğan is having a good start to the season. As a coach, as he is and how he has adapted and for his leadership, it's an honour to have him. He gives us that pause and calmness. He moves the ball well and he know how we want to play and he is consistent on the field." 


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