“We had more possession and we are better than Real Madrid”. That was a bold statement made by Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo after Barca’s lost to Madrid on Wednesday night in Saudi Arabia.
His statement is indeed contentious but not far from the truth.
He was excited with Barcelona's performance despite loosing to Real Madrid in extra time in the Spanish Supercopa semifinal on Wednesday.
"Losing always hurts but I am proud of the team," he said.
"We couldn't counteract their counterattack, but I am proud of the team. You're seeing the great work we're doing, the group is united and we hope results will come soon.
"We have to correct some things but I am happy with what we're doing. We knew they would wait and counter, that we couldn't lose easy balls. It's a shame to not reach the final.
Even though possession doesn’t win a point in football, Barcelona will be happy taking their previous performances into consideration.
Barcelona dominated in terms of statistics having 164 attacks compared to Madrid’s 127 and 100 dangerous attacks compared to Madrid’s 48.
These numbers must be considered as many thought Barcelona were going to annihilated by Real Madrid.Even some football analysts predicting a 5-0 score line in favor of Madrid.
Real Madrid, a team currently on a hot streak had almost all their players fully fit with Carvajal making a start from an injury. Barcelona on the other hand had Pedri, Fati, Araujo, De Jong, Torres all coming from an injury part yet made a massive contribution in the game.
A fully fit Barcelona team will be a delight to watch with Xavi having lots of depth in the squad. This will propel and improve the team to compete until the end of the season.
Carlo Ancelotti also acknowledged how Barcelona have improved making Madrid suffer for the win.
He tweeted after the game saying “Tonight we suffered and competed against a great rival. Now it’s time to get ready to give our best in our first final of the season. Vamos Real!”
(Carlo Ancelotti’s tweet)
Following their defeat to Real Madrid, Xavi Hernandez believes his Barcelona team is missing vital components.
Barca improved their performance on Wednesday night, but they were still defeated despite Luuk de Jong and Ansu Fati tying the game twice.
Real Madrid may have wasted two leads, but they preserved their composure in extra time to win 3-2 on a Federico Valverde winner.
According to the Blaugrana boss himself, this is the difference between Los Blancos and Xavi's youthful Barca players.
Xavi believes it's a matter of experience and a few other factors, but considering the current Barca squad's youth, these are ingredients that should arrive with time.
In his post-match press conference, Xavi observed, "They are contradicting sentiments since we could touch the victory."
"We've controlled Madrid for a long time, but we're short in experience, patience, and accountability."
"We're almost there. We were too late for the turning point. It's why we were defeated 3-2.
"We've controlled Madrid, and they've retreated." It's a pity.
"We're full with wrath and despair." This, I feel, is the way to go. We had a chance to win.
So far, Barca has had a long and difficult season, but this defeat will serve as a symbol of hope.
The Blaugrana are a young team that requires defeats like these in order to mature and become what Xavi desires.
It will be intriguing to see how Barcelona responds and if they can improve on their performance in Riyadh.
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