Barcelona ended their 2021/22 La Liga season on a disappointing note, as they succumbed to a 0-2 loss to Villarreal at Camp Nou on Sunday night.
Goals from Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez on either side of half-time fired Villarreal to a crucial victory, helping them qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League for next season.
Barcelona, who had nothing left to play for, finish the campaign in second place, with a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League and Spanish Supercup confirmed.
Speaking after the game, manager Xavi Hernandez admitted that the team did not perform at their best on the night.
“It’s football, today we deserved better. We were not effective today. We were playing well until the halfway mark… We conceded two goals because of two mistakes,” the Barcelona boss said.
“We didn’t have anything to play for in this match, unlike Villarreal,” he added.
Reflecting on Barcelona’s season as a whole, Xavi said: “I am not happy but I am satisfied. In November, the club was in bad shape, but we qualified for the Champions League and will play in the Supercup.”
“Like the club, I am a demanding person, we did great things but we did not improve enough. We cannot accept another season without a trophy. We will win titles next season,” Xavi added when talking about the plans for next season.
Talking about the plans to strengthen the squad in the summer transfer window, the manager said: “I spoke with the president and the sporting staff. We have to change some things, that’s clear. The team needs to be strengthened.”
We think that the club will be able to make all the changes we need. Now that we have fulfilled the objectives, we have met and we believe that we will be able to do what we need to strengthen the team as we want for next season,” he added.
Xavi was also quizzed about the future of Ousmane Dembele, who is yet to sign a new contract with the club. The manager did not give away much on the matter but praised the Frenchman for his professionalism.
“I can only speak well of Ousmane, he has helped us a lot these months. He will look for his happiness, we will see how it ends. He has been an impeccable professional like everyone,” he said.
Xavi was also asked if Barcelona would re-sign Neymar in case PSG decided to sell him in the summer. In response, the manager said:
“We haven’t spoken about it. We want to first strengthen our positions of priority and then we’ll see. Neymar is a player I love, but at the moment I have not spoken to the president about trying to bring him back.”
When asked if he thought Dembele would join PSG, Xavi replied: “Everyone goes where they want and where they think they will be happy. He has helped us a lot and he has made a difference while being committed. I wish him the best, he has been a professional.”
Barcelona have one more game to take care of before breaking for the summer as they travel to Australia to take on the A-League All Stars team.
When asked about the trip to Down Under, the manager said: “Now we have to rest before Australia. I hope the fans there enjoy Barça.”