Xavi blames Barca draw on lack of experience


Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez lamented mistakes and a lack of experience as his side were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at Granada in LaLiga on Saturday.

Luuk de Jong’s second headed goal in as many games gave Barca the lead in the second half but the match swung when Gavi was sent off with 10 minutes to play.

Granada eventually equalised in the 89th minute when Antonio Puertas was left unmarked to fire home inside the box after Barca had failed to clear a corner.

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“It’s a shame but it’s down to our own mistakes,” Xavi said. “It’s a lack of experience. The red card weakens us, but we’ve lost because of errors.

“We’ve dropped two hugely important points. It’s down to us, not the opposition. We lost silly balls. The second half was there to be controlled. We can’t go home happy after that. We’re angry. We must be self-critical.”

Xavi was particularly disappointed with how Barca managed the game after De Jong’s goal, which was set up by Dani Alves, who was making his first LaLiga appearance since 2016 after re-signing for the club in November.

“After the goal, which is the most difficult thing, it’s the same story as against Osasuna [when Barca drew 2-2],” Xavi added.

“We didn’t know how to control the game. We started dropping back when we had to kill the game off. We must create more to win. We’ve made mistakes. If we want to grow, it has to be now.”

Despite singling out Gavi’s red card — the consequence of two bookings for late challenges — as a game-changing moment, Xavi did not want to criticise the 17-year-old, who was sent off for the first time in his career.

“The referee is there to make these decisions, it’s not for me to get involved,” Xavi said. “Experience and know-how comes with games. We can’t ask for any more from Gavi. He is a player that gives us a lot and his dismissal weakened us, obviously.”

A win would have taken Barca into the top four for the first time since Xavi took over. The draw leaves them sixth with 32 points from 20 games, while Granada, now unbeaten in seven league outings, sit 12th with 24 points.

Xavi’s side return to action on Wednesday when they face league leaders Real Madrid in the semifinal of the Spanish Supercopa in Saudi Arabia.

Barca hope to have Ansu Fati back from injury for that game having welcomed back Memphis Depay and Abde Ezzalzouli to their attack against Granada as second-half substitutes.

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