Barcelona playmaker Xavi Hernandez has fired a warning shot across Chelsea's bows by saying the Catalans are looking to make amends to their fans after two back-to-back defeats - against Chelsea, in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final; and, on Saturday, against fierce rivals Real Madrid, in a league game). The Spaniard said he was so angry about the 1-2 El Clasico defeat he actually wanted to play the Chelsea game a day earlier than the scheduled Tuesday kick-off.
"On Tuesday we're playing for a place in the Champions League final. I wish we could play on Monday. We have this internal anger sportsmen have, after losing against Madrid at home," ESPN quoted Xavi as saying.
Although Barcelona have won the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup and are also in the finals of the Spanish Cup, Xavi admitted the game against Chelsea could make or break the club's season and called on his team mates to rise to the occasion.
"We want to win on Tuesday, overturn the deficit against Chelsea, and show we deserve to be in the final. It would be a historic achievement to get to another Champions League final and win it and also win the Spanish Cup too. It would be a great season if we win those two finals. Our fans are intelligent and they know that on Tuesday we're playing half our season, so we want them behind us,'' the 32 year old said.
Barcelona suffered a near-fatal blow in their pursuit for a fourth consecutive La Liga title when Madrid beat them 2-1 at the Nou Camp, courtesy goals from German midfielder Sami Khedira and talismanic Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. The capital club now has an almost unassailable seven point lead over the Catalans, with only four games remaining.
Nevertheless, the World Cup-winning Barcelona midfielder feels the club can still finish the season on a high if they can go on to be European Champions for the second season in a row.
"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. 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,'' Xavi added.