FC Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has had his first taste of defeat in "El Clasico" as a manager. His team lost 2-3 against bitter rivals Real Madrid on Wednesday, in their semi-final encounter at the Supercopa de Espana which is currently being staged in Saudi Arabia.
Barcelona were always catching up throughout the match, with Real Madrid scoring first via Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior in the 25th minute. Luuk de Jong managed to find the equaliser in the 41st minute, before Karim Benzema handed Los Blancos the lead once more in the 72nd minute via a brilliant exchange with Dani Carvajal.
Despite this, Xavi has decided to focus on the positive things that he saw in his team. "We were superior to Real Madrid in many moments. We can't have high morale because we lost, [but] it's a very important turning point," he said after the match.
The Blaugrana were able to force the match into extra time thanks to a late goal by returning forward Ansu Fati, who is finally back in action after yet another lengthy injury. Xavi felt that his players had clear chances to equalise even after Fede Valverde scored Real Madrid's third goal.
"We dominated many phases, we played with some complexes. Because of our mistakes of not stopping counterattacks, which we had discussed, they took advantage of our mistakes," he said, as quoted by Marca.
Xavi was brought in as Barcelona manager after Ronald Koeman was sacked earlier in the season, incidentally after losing an El Clasico in La Liga. Now, Xavi says he is sad to lead the team to its fifth consecutive loss against Real Madrid, but he still remains prod.
"Barça also deserved to go through to the final. We are on the right track," he said.. Unfortunately, despite his opinion, only one team can win and move to the final. He even went as far as to say that the opponents felt that the game could have gone the other direction. "Madrid also has the feeling that we had the pass to the final," he said.
However, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has a different opinion. "I don't agree. It was an even match. The first half we conceded a goal due to bad luck. The second half was more even. Nobody dominated," he said when asked about Xavi's comments. "The three goals were spectacular," he added, clearly stating that his team deserved the victory.