Xavi’s explosive post-match comments after the Espanyol draw
“[The referee] lost control of the game,” said the Barça coach after the 1-1 draw with Espanyol.
Xavi Hernández, head coach of FC Barcelona, had some interesting things to say after his side’s 1-1 draw against Espanyol.
Before the game, the manager was not keen to get drawn in on the noise regarding the man character of the story, referee Mateu Lahoz, who made headlines worldwide after his performance in the World Cup between Argentina and the Netherlands, in which Messi criticised him publicly. Barcelona drew 1-1 with Espanyol in the last game of 2022 at the Camp Nou in a match that for 60 minutes, was about as comfortable as a derby could be.
Enter Mateu Lahoz.
The game descended into madness, with yellow cards whizzing out of his pocket like rabid bees, reds soon followed before VAR rescinded Cabrera’s after seeing the challenge was not intentional as first presumed. Xavi, who was keen to keep things friendly before the game, decided to hold the referee in the spotlight regarding the collapse of control during the final stages of the game.
‘Mateu lost it’
“We slowed down and the draw is our fault. We can talk about the referee and a thousand things, but it’s our fault. When you don’t score so many chances and you are not effective, these things can happen. They are our mistakes. Mateu controls and dominates the matches and today he has lost it. Today he gave out lots of cards and I told him so at the end. He must be a judge and for me the game has gotten out of control, yes.”
“He told me he’s glad to see me, just like that. And I told him that I do too. That’s why I say that he is a referee who gives the appearance that he is in control of the game but today that was not the case. But the draw was our fault. We slowed down after the first half. I have to be honest and the draw is our fault.”
What did Xavi say about Jordi Alba’s red card?
The questions about the referee continued to come for Xavi in the post-match press conference, with the journalists looking for that headline to fill the newspapers and pull on specific chords that may drag out certain responses from the manager, who defended Jordi Alba after the defender was sent off on his 300th Barcelona appearance. “We talk about the referee again, “ Xavi lamented, “I can’t control the referee. What he has seen, what he has felt, what the players have told him. What am I going to say? Jordi has told me that he didn’t say anything to him.”
As much as he tried to criticise the referee and how things unfolded, Xavi recognised that ultimately it was his team’s way of playing that allowed the opposition back into the match: “I think we created chances. We lowered the pace, the speed of the ball, the intensity. My feeling is that we should have won well.”
“The penalty was an unfortunate moment; Espanyol defended well and has barely attacked. But this is how it is. We said that we should speed up the game but things like this happen and it is our fault.”