Xavi backs Barca to bounce back

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has called on his team-mates to keep their heads up after their recent El Clasico defeat.

Football News: Barcelona

After their 2-1 loss to Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Saturday, many including Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola have declared the La Liga title race to be over.

Reflecting on their loss to Los Blancos, Xavi considers it a pity Barcelona failed to put on the level of performance they know they are capable of. However, the midfielder shared that the team have now put the loss behind them

"We didn’t play a bad game, but we were not at the excellent level which we normally are. We had the ball and dominated, but we didn’t have the chances we usually do and Madrid just took advantage of that."

"We always try and win, we are competitive but what characterises us is that we also know how to deal with defeat – we did after we lost the Cup Final and we congratulated them then - that’s just part of the game and that’s the way we are."

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While Xavi believes it would be miraculous if the Catalans somehow manage to retain the championship, he insists the club should not view their season as a failure.

With Barcelona due to welcome Chelsea for the second-leg of the Champions League semi-final, the Spaniard stated that the squad will now be going all out for European glory.

"The league title might be lost, but we’ve got a Cup Final ahead, we’ve already won three titles and we can still reach the Champions League final," he said on the club's official website.

"Of the six competitions we were in this season, we still have the chance to come away with five – we are just missing the Cup and the Champions League. We’ll keep fighting, because we know that it’s in our own hands to finish with a good season."

Captain Carles Puyol predicts the upcoming Champions League fixture to be another tiring grind, as both Chelsea and Real Madrid have taken to defensive tactics to stop the Catalan side. The central defender admits that while an El Clasico rematch is a tempting prospect, the team is solely focused on their English opponents for now.

"We have to be very aware of their counter attacks - I can see it being a similar game tactically to the Madrid match."

"That [an El Clasico] would be a very attractive final, we’d have to see what would happen then, but for now we are centered on Tuesday."

Barcelona host Chelsea for the return-leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night.

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