Although Barcelona will go into Wednesday’s Champions League group opener against Pilsen as huge favourites, their coach Xavi Hernández is warning of a tricky match.
According to him, West Bohemians excel in physical preparation and have nothing to lose. Although the big Catalan club is not one of the main contenders for the overall championship, the 42-year-old former midfielder dreams of leading the team to win the “early” cup.
“We are entering the Champions League, it is a privilege for us to be able to play in such a competition. We have a tricky match ahead of us. Viktoria Plzeň practically has nothing to lose, it is an underrated team. We are facing a physically playing team, a tough opponent. But we want to win beginning,” said Xavi at the press conference.
The other teams in the paper-strong Group C are Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. The first two teams advance to the elimination phase, the team in third place awaits the spring phase of the Europa League. “We have a tough group. But there’s no point in dreaming. We have to reach at least the last 16 and we’ll try to win the Champions League,” said Xavi.
With Barcelona, he would like to build on the triumph in the Champions League from his playing career in the role of coach. “We will fight and dream of winning. If I didn’t dream of winning the Champions League, I wouldn’t be here and go home. I can’t imagine competing without wanting to win,” said Xavi.
“Of course we have to be humble, saying that we are the favorites (for the overall championship) is probably stupid. It is a complicated group. But the goal is the titles. Why can’t we win the whole competition? We have to start with three points tomorrow,” added Xavi.
His charges won three times and drew once in the opening four rounds of the Spanish league. Xavi did not rule out that he will make changes to the lineup against Pilsen. “There will be some rotation. Some players are tired, the last match in Sevilla was a war. We have a very wide squad,” said Xavi.
The Barcelona team has been leading since last November. “We’ve improved a lot since November. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made. Positional play, improvement in the attacking phase, a better understanding of how to change positions on the pitch,” praised Xavi.