Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has admitted his team have a ‘psychological issue’ at the moment that is affecting performances.
The club legend was brought in to replace Ronald Koeman in November after one of the club’s most tumultuous periods in its history, with Lionel Messi leaving in the wake of Barca’s gargantuan financial crisis.
After a torrid period under Koeman, Xavi looked to be turning a corner with Barcelona notching up two wins and a draw in his first three games.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez admitted his team have a ‘psychological issue’ right now
Barcelona limply exited the Champions League after a humbling 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich
But things have started to fall apart once again, with Barca losing 1-0 at home to Real Betis in LaLiga before being hammered in a limp 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich that saw Xavi’s side crash embarrassingly out of the Champions League.
‘It is a psychological issue rather than a football one,’ the Barca manager said at a press conference.
‘They have to believe it and that is my job. We are encouraging them to dare and be brave. At Barcelona it’s not worth playing 6/10 or 7/10. You have to aim for excellence.
‘This is what is missing. Courage, aiming high and not low because that is not what Barcelona do. Being brave and understanding the game, we are not that far from what we want.
Xavi was part of one of Barcelona’s greatest ever teams as a player and knows what it takes
Xavi was part of arguably one of the greatest ever football teams during his time as a Barcelona player, and understand what it takes to maintain exceptionally high standards.
While reports have suggested plans for a total overhaul of the squad – with underperforming stars such as Frenkie De Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Sergino Dest on the transfer list – Xavi insisted the issue was not with the talent in his squad.
Ahead of Barca’s LaLiga fixture against Osasuna on Sunday, he identified what his side needed to improve on mentally to get back to winning ways.
‘The squad has the level to compete and win titles. In the Bayern game there was also a psychological aspect, but also (a sign that) habits have been lost.’
Frenkie de Jong (left) and Sergino Dest (right) are two players to have been transfer listed