Barcelona boss Xavi believes his side answered their critics with their emphatic 3-0 win over Villarreal in LaLiga, stating that they “had to react” after their mixed recent form.
The Blaugrana ran rampant in a seven-minute stretch just after the half-hour mark, as Robert Lewandowski seized a quickfire double and Ansu Fati added a third at Camp Nou.
Victory means Barca trail league leaders Real Madrid by three points after defeat in El Clasico over the weekend, but also snaps a two-game winless streak to get them back on top.
With just one win in their previous four before Thursday’s win, Xavi acknowledged his side needed to answer their critics, and was delighted that they did so in such impressive fashion.
“We played a great game,” he stated. “It was our turn [to win] – we had to reach. It wasn’t easy, because a lot was expected of us after poor results.
“There are many expectations placed upon us this season. But we showed our true face, we showed character. It is a good feeling in general.”
7 – @ANSUFATI has made 7 shots against Villarreal (1 goal), his highest tally in a single game for @FCBarcelona in any competition (72 games). Prodigal. pic.twitter.com/Qg5yfE5Pjl
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 20, 2022
Barca rung the changes following their capitulation in El Clasico, with Fati leading one of five swaps to the starting XI, with Frenkie de Jong handed the nod in midfield and Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele dropped.
Xavi suggested his rotations were pre-planned rather than as a result of defeat to Madrid, adding: “On Sunday, there will be changes again.
“We have fatigue among our players. We need intensity and we need rhythm. Players must be plugged in, for the minutes they play.”
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