Xavi challenges Barcelona to secure Champions League spot in style
A win over Benfica would see Barcelona advance from Champions League Group E and boss Xavi wants to see his side put on a show.
Xavi has challenged his Barcelona side to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 in style when they face Benfica on Tuesday.
Benfica will be unable to catch Barça if the Catalan giants secure all three points in their penultimate Group E game at Camp Nou.
The Blaugrana managed a 1-0 derby win over Espanyol in Xavi's first game in charge on Saturday after the club great replaced Ronald Koeman as head coach.
Xavi looking for Barcelona's best
Former Spain star Xavi wants Barça to put on a show against a Benfica side that beat them 3-0 in September and could move into second place behind Bayern Munich with another victory.
Xavi said in a press conference on Monday: "I envision a victory tomorrow. Why should I think otherwise? I prepare for that, so that [the players] are doing well and see that it is an opportunity to get into the second round.
"I am positive, and it seems an opportunity to me. I envision winning, scoring goals. No one is going to take away that hope. I would like a great team game, of course, but we are not here to give anything away.
"The most important thing is how. The objective is to win. Winning in any way will be welcome, but it is [about] how things are done, too."
Xavi has taken on a rebuilding job at the cash-strapped club following Koeman's departure, but the 41-year-old has high expectations.
"I am very happy," he said: "I feel proud and privileged. I think they are the best in the world, but they must prove it. We have to aim for excellence.
"Regardless of the system, the approach is the same. I try to give the team a winning mentality, personality."
Xavi revealed Ousmane Dembélé could return from a hamstring injury, but Barça will not take any risks with the France forward.
Xavi welcomes players back
Sergio Busquets, Nico Gonzalez and Óscar Mingueza were substituted in the win over Espanyol, but Xavi says all three should be fit to face Benfica.
He said: "The players we had to substitute on Saturday – Mingueza, Busquets and Nico – are fine. We'll see this evening and tomorrow, but I don't see any reason why they can't play on Tuesday.
"Regarding those with injuries – Dembélé, Sergi Roberto, and [Sergiño] Dest – it depends on how they feel. We don't want players getting injured."
Recommended in English
- NBA Juancho recalls tough times at Boston: "There was no room for me"
- NFL PFWA selects three Chiefs for All-Rookie Team Honors
- Soccer Real Madrid's Rodrygo wants World Cup glory with Brazil
- AFCON Mané taken to hospital after head injury blow at AFCON
- NFL Lakers 106 vs. 96 Nets summary: stats, scores, and highlights | NBA
- MLB Big Papi only player elected to Hall of Fame