Barcelona missed the big match ball at home to secure a place in the eighth-finals of the Champions League with a victory against Benfica. The draw suits the Portuguese better, but it's not over for the Catalans either.
Barça still holds everything in their hands. "All it takes" is to beat Bayern Munich! Or they will hope that Benfica will not beat the written-off Dinamo in the last round at home. Two possibilities that hardly can happen.
Among those rare optimists is the new Barcelona coach Xavi, who made his debut in the Champions League in the draw against Benfica. Although the result was disappointing, Xavi radiated optimism after the game. "We were much better than our opponents and that is what we want.
I think we played well and this is the Barça we all want to see. We just needed to score a goal." "If we had pushed at least one ball into the net, we would now be talking about how we played a great game.
The players are slowly accepting my idea." "We miss that goal because we scored only one goal from the penalty spot in two matches, but we can and must fix it, "said Barca's strategist. Xavi is optimistic about Barca's chances of progressing to the round of 16 with the victory against Bayern in Munich.
"We should be positive. We have another game and we are going to Munich to win. We are Barça and we are going there to win. Not only in Munich, but in the same way, we go to all other matches." "We have to go out on the field there with the same attitude as tonight.
Despite the draw, we played very well today. We have shown the values and behaviors that are important to me. " Xavi praised the controversial Ousmane Dembele, after whose entry from the bench, Barcelona was the most dangerous against Benfica.
"He changed the game when he entered. He kept going forward and sowing fear. He created many opportunities and made a difference. Too bad we didn’t score that goal because we deserved it. But football is like that ...
", said the young expert.
Pique after the game
Captain Gerard Pique commented on the good and bad things of the draw with Benfica. "This point does not mean much, although we still depend on ourselves. We did a lot of work to win, we created a lot of chances, but when you don't score a goal then you can't win."
"We lack efficiency in front of the opponent's goal. I'm worried about that inefficiency. I know this team has guys capable of scoring goals." "But sometimes things like this happen in football. We will work and train to create even more opportunities and to use them.
The more we shoot, the more goals we will score, "he said after the match. He is also optimistic that Barcelona can win in Munich. "We are going to Munich with the intention of winning. We know it’s hard but the team is inspired and full of confidence.
Barcelona, wherever they play, goes for the win." "The fans gave us faith tonight. I haven’t seen Camp Nou with a spirit like this in a long time. People used to be angry, and now everyone is with us and that is invaluable."