Football Features

“I think he can lift our spirits” – Barcelona players look to new manager Xavi to save them following dispiriting Celta Vigo draw

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:33, 6 November 2021

In a raucous afternoon of football in La Liga, Barcelona threw away a three-goal lead against Celta Vigo to draw 3-3.

This was the archetypal “game of two halves” as the Blaugrana dominated the opening period, taking an impressive three goal lead only to be wrecked by injuries to key players Ansu Fati and Nico Gonzalez and then see that lead clawed back by Celta after the break, culminating in Iago Aspas’ heroic 96th minute equaliser.

It brought Sergi Barjuan’s interim era in charge to a disappointing end while also setting the stage quite perfectly for Xavi to come in and take the reigns. This was a game which showcased the immense talent currently flowing through the halls of the Camp Nou, while also making plain the frailties and flaws that new coach Xavi has to fix.

West Ham vs Liverpool: Betting Offer

Claim this William Hill offer here. 18+. Play Safe. New customers using EPSA40. Mobile only. Applies to bets placed from 12:00 on 4th November 2021 until 16:30 on 7th November 2021. Max £1 bet at 40/1. Returns paid as 4 x £10 free bets (30 day expiry). Player & currency restrictions & terms apply.

For his part, Xavi is excited to be at the club. Speaking pre-match, Xavi said he had: “very good feelings, really excited to be here, I’ve come back home. Really excited to start, to know the players, to talk with them.”

“This was my dream, and now the dream come true,” he added. Emphasising the fact that as much as this appointment is a dream come true for the fans, it’s also the case for Xavi himself who has been a Barcelona man all his life.

Xavi is fully aware of the scale of the task at-hand, however. “Of course it’s a big challenge, but I am ready, we are ready; all the technical staff, to start immediately.” Xavi knows that hard-work will be required, and it’s a view shared by Frenkie de Jong.

Speaking after the dispiriting draw against Celta, De Jong said: “We’re all very excited about Xavi’s arrival and we’re going to work very very hard.”

Bet £10 and get £30 in free bets T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Full terms apply. BeGambleAware.

18+ only. New customers using Promo code H30 only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
Get up to £100 in bet credits T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.

18+ only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
£20 in Free Bets when you place a £5 bet T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply.

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here

De Jong’s views were echoed by team-mate and compatriot Memphis Depay: “He have a lot of experience in top football and I think he will bring that experience into the team. I’m excited to work with [Xavi], and I think he can lift our spirits,” but Memphis did not shirk the responsibility the players have to themselves: “we have to lift our spirits together, as also the players you know. And speak about things, and have conversations to have more results in the games.”

And if you watched the game against Celta, you would understand why Memphis spoke about players needing to lift their spirits but also needing the experience of Xavi.

During their second-half collapse in Balaidos there were countless moments where Barcelona were crying out for someone to take control of the game’s tempo. To slow things down and insist that, rather than try to engage Celta in a shootout, Barcelona play the game at their tempo on their terms.


But no one stepped up to assume that role, and you can assume that’s a hangover from the Ronald Koeman days where quick, direct play was the order of the day; even though Barcelona didn’t have the players needed for that and that idea runs counter to everything that made Barcelona one of the greatest sides in the history of the game a decade ago.

That is what Xavi must bring back to Barcelona, he has to remind them who they are and how they are meant to play. So that the next time an opponent pressures them instead of wilting or folding then are able to stand firm and simply keep the ball. Drain the life out of the opponent through possession and walk away with a 0-3 win, instead of limping back to Catalunya crestfallen after a 3-3 draw.


Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..


Newsletter error