Tuesday. 31.01.2023
LA LIGA

Xavi keeps focus on El Clasico with Dest and Pique in doubt

Barcelona were on Friday drawn to play Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals

10 March 2022, Spain, Barcelona: Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez stands on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Galatasaray SK at Camp Nou. Photo: Gerard Franco/DAX via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez stands on the touchline at Camp Nou stadium. Photo: Gerard Franco/dpa.

While praising his side's win over Galatasaray in the Europa League, Barcelona coach Xavi says it can mean nothing with Sunday's El Clasico in mind.

The Blaugrana will have to back up quickly from Thursday's 2-1 win on aggregate, progressing to the quarter-finals in the process, with a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid awaiting. 

"Today was an important game, because we are playing for a European trophy," Xavi told reporters after the match. "We want to go far in this competition, and we are very happy to be in the quarter-finals, as we deserve to be there.

"Yes, we are in good form at the moment heading into El Clasico, but that means nothing.

"I have experienced everything about those games, playing badly and then winning or playing well and then they beat us. Sunday will be a different story, a very difficult and complex one."

Barcelona were on Friday drawn to play Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals as they continue their bid to win Europe's second tier event for the first time.

Barca have five titles in the Champions Cup/League and four from the defunkt Cup Winners' Cup but have never won the UEFA Cup/Europa League.

Frankfurt meanwhile won the UEFA Cup in 1980 and were semi-finalists in 2019.

Two injured

Barcelona's win in Istanbul was partly clouded by injuries to Sergino Dest and Gerard Pique, who both had to come off in the second half.

With Barca already leading 2-1, Dest produced a desperate but perfectly-timed sliding tackle on Muhammed Aturkoglu in the 55th minute, injuring his hamstring in the process.

Dest’s injury comes at an inconvenient time for club, with Sunday’s Clasico awaiting, and country, with Gregg Berhalter announcing Dest in the United States national team’s latest squad only hours after the final whistle.

Gerard Pique was also a second-half substitute, aggravating a groin injury coming into the match and coming off for Clement Lenglet in the 81st minute.

"In the end he told me that it was difficult for him to sprint and we decided to make the change," Xavi told Movistar+ post-match.

"We weren’t there to give it away. We only won with one goal, and Pique has had discomfort for a month."

Though Dest's status is questionable for Sunday, it is as yet unclear whether Pique will be fit in time for Barcelona's clash against their fierce rivals.

Xavi keeps focus on El Clasico with Dest and Pique in doubt
Comments