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Xavi reacts to Barcelona defeat and explains “fine details” that led to Man Utd victory

Xavi reacts to Barcelona defeat and explains “fine details” that led to Man Utd victory

According to Xavi Hernandez, the reason for Barcelona’s loss to  Manchester United in the Europa League play-offs was due to small details.

Despite taking an early lead through a penalty by Robert Lewandowski, Xavi’s team couldn’t maintain their advantage against Erik ten Hag’s United side, who came back to win 2-1 in the second half of the game.

Although the first leg was a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou, Xavi conceded that Barcelona struggled to cope with their opponents’ better performance after a disappointing first-half display.

“United were very intense in that second half,” the Spaniard told a post-match press conference. “They are in very good form at the moment and are very good at home. It is those fine details that made all the difference.”

Barcelona’s star forward, Lewandowski, who scored a penalty to give his team the lead in the 18th minute, shared the same opinion as his manager regarding the defeat to Manchester United.

“In the first half, we had almost everything under control,” the Poland international told Viaplay. “But the second half, for 10, maybe 15 minutes when Manchester [United] pushed us and scored two goals, it wasn’t the best time for us.

“Of course we fought until the end to change the result but it was not enough. Maybe if we had tried to score another goal, took more risks and tried to create another situation, it’d also have been more tough for the opponent to have gone forward.”

Meanwhile, it was jubilation for United’s players, who satisfied manager Erik ten Hag. “I think we have some great personalities in the team like Raphael [Varane] and [Lisandro] Martinez, they don’t fear anyone,” the Dutch boss told BT Sport post-match.

“We have some players here with great personalities and if and when you get set-backs they move on. They carry on, they are resilient, they want to get a result. If you believe in that even after you’ve conceded a cheap penalty, you carry on. When you win a big game like this after being 1-0 down this is a good indication of the season.”

Ten Hag appears to be unconcerned about who Manchester United could potentially face in the last 16 of the Europa League, especially with the Carabao Cup final coming up on Sunday at Wembley. “[It] doesn’t matter for me,” he added. “I’m focussed on Newcastle now. Doesn’t matter who will come, we have to beat them all we know that. We’ll respect every opponent but if we are well prepared and have strong belief we can do it.”

Xavi reacts to Barcelona defeat and explains “fine details” that led to Man Utd victory

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