May 23, 2024

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said Monday that his team’s Champions League quarter-final second-leg clash against Paris Saint-Germain would be similar to the first-leg thriller.

 

The five-time champions edged Luis Enrique’s PSG side 3-2 in a Paris blockbuster last week and are aiming to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2019.

 

Xavi said the second leg at Barcelona’s temporary Olympic Stadium home on the city’s Montjuic hill would produce more of the same spectacle.

 

“We’re not a team that will sit on our lead, we want to take the ball off PSG and win the game,” Xavi told a news conference.

 

“I hope we are at our best, they will test us to the limit — I see a game very similar to the first leg.

 

“It’s the Champions League, it’s Paris and a game in which no one will be holding back.”

 

Xavi said PSG’s coach Luis Enrique, who was on the Barcelona bench the last time the Catalans won the Champions League in 2015, would send his team out to harry the hosts.

 

“Montjuic’s (atmosphere) has to seem like the big nights at Camp Nou,” continued Xavi.

 

“Luis Enrique will not hold back, he will come here to press — we have to show a lot of personality to reach the semi-finals.”

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Xavi, who announced in January he was leaving at the end of the season, has led a resurgent Barcelona on a 12-game unbeaten run since.

 

“Me and my players, everyone has been liberated (by my decision),” said the coach.

 

“Everyone has felt more of a sense of belonging towards the club, and I think it has gone phenomenally.”

 

Barcelona midfielder Pedri agreed that his team would have to play to win, and not try only to hold on to their one-goal headstart.

 

“We have this slender lead but we have to go out there as if we didn’t have that advantage,” said Pedri.

 

The Canary Islander returned from injury to brilliantly set up one of Raphinha’s goals in Paris.

 

The Spain international has not been able to find consistent fitness over the past two seasons amid various injury problems.

 

“When you’re back from injury you feel the tiredness, but I’m strong and have a lot of desire,” continued Pedri.

 

“I’ve always said I prefer to play 80 minutes at 100 per cent and when I can’t go on, ask to be subbed for someone else.”

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