Xavi asks for a ‘reset’ after Barcelona’s shock UCL loss against Shakhtar

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Xavi Hernandez says Barcelona are in an upset and need to reset after Tuesday’s surprise 1-0 Champions League defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg.

Danilo Cican scored the only goal of the game just before half-time as Barca missed out on booking their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

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The Spanish champions dominated possession but could only manage one shot on target in the second half despite bringing on Pedri, Lamine Yamal and Joao Felix.

“We deserved to lose,” the Barcelona coach said at the post-match press conference. “We have to be honest. We played poorly and nothing went to plan.

“Our performance level is really low at the moment. It was one of the worst games in my two years in charge. We have to self-criticize.

“There was a response in the second half but it wasn’t enough. This competition demands your best and we weren’t in it today. It was obviously a step back.”

“We’re angry. The confidence is down, we’re in a bit of a slump and we need to reset.”

Barca won 1-0 at Real Sociedad in La Liga at the weekend, but Xavi branded the display against the Basque side “unacceptable” and criticized the intensity shown by his players.

Against Shakhtar, displaced to Hamburg for the European Games due to the war in Ukraine, the Barca coach was further disappointed with the manner of the performance.

“I wouldn’t say it was an intensity issue this time,” he added. “We didn’t understand what the game needed. We lost a lot of balls, we didn’t attack well, we didn’t deal with crosses well and we paid for our mistakes.”

Barca top Group G with nine points from four matches, level with FC Porto, while Shakhtar have six and Royal Antwerp are pointless.

“It’s a shame because we wanted to book our place in the last 16,” Xavi said. “We have qualification in our own hands though and that’s a big positive.

“We have the next match at home, against Porto, and that’s where we can seal it. We need to regain confidence. We are doing little at the moment.

“We were playing very good football not so long ago — it’s a mental problem.”

Barca defender Joao Cancelo called on the team to respond on Sunday when they host Alaves in La Liga, where they currently sit third, four points behind surprise leaders Girona and two behind Real Madrid.

“We played really badly in the last two games,” Cancelo said. “Against Real Sociedad, we didn’t deserve to win and today we didn’t play well enough to get the points.

“We have a game this weekend to come back with a better mindset before the international break.”

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