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Barcelona manager Xavi insists his players must be more clinical in front of goal after they narrowly beat Athletic Club 1-0 on Sunday night.
Raphinha’s goal in first half stoppage-time proved to be the difference between the two sides – Athletic had an Iker Muniain goal disallowed for handball – with the result maintaining Barca’s nine-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
It was the ninth time that Barcelona, who have conceded just eight times in 25 league games, have won 1-0 this season, though the result prompted Xavi to ask for more of a clinical edge from his players despite walking away from San Mames with all three points.
“We have been at a good level for 75 minutes although we have to attack better. It was a difficult course and in San Mamés you end up suffering,” the Spaniard said.
“It is a golden victory for us and we take three very important points. But we have to get better at the game. We have had two or three clear chances in the second half: from Ansu, from Balde for not choosing well, from Lewandowski with a header.
“We have to improve in that aspect, be calmer and more patient and play more in the opposite field. Defensive solvency must also be valued, but it is true that we have to improve in the opposite field.”
Xavi also expressed his hope that Sergio Busquets will prolong his career at Camp Nou, saying the veteran midfielder is still ‘giving a lot’ to Barcelona while adding that his performance level is one of the ‘surprises of the season’.
Barcelona next face Real Madrid in a potential title deciding Clasico, with Xavi’s side having home advantage in addition to bragging rights – they recently beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side 1-0 on their own patch in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.
The second leg takes place on April 5, with the eventual winner going on to face either Athletic Club or Osasuna in the final.