HomeChampions LeagueBarcelona will take the game to Inter in Milan, Xavi says

Barcelona will take the game to Inter in Milan, Xavi says

Soccer Football – Champions League – Group C – FC Barcelona v Viktoria Plzen – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – September 7, 2022 FC Barcelona coach Xavi and assistant coach Oscar Hernandez REUTERS/Pablo Morano

MILAN, Italy (Reuters) – Barcelona will try to be aggressive and impose their will and style at Inter Milan in their Champions League Group C clash on Tuesday, manager Xavi Hernandez said on the eve of the game.

The Spanish found themselves in the ‘Group of Death’ with Inter and Bayern Munich, having to face a re-run of their nightmare 8-2 loss to the Germans in the 2020 quarter-finals.

Barca started with a 5-1 home win against Viktoria Plzen but lost 2-0 in Munich where they were the better side and dominated possession, but fell to a clinical Bayern side who scored twice in four minutes against the run of play.

“I insist, we have the worst group in the Champions League,” Xavi told a news conference ahead of the trip to Italy.

“Inter is a strong rival. We already wasted a great opportunity against Bayern and on Tuesday we will try to be the more effective side.

“We want to dominate and take the game to our opponent. Basically, I want us to play like we did in Munich but getting the result this time.”

Xavi is upbeat about Barcelona’s start to the season. They are the new leaders of LaLiga after some great performances by new signing Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 12 goals in nine games in all competitions this season.

The results have raised expectations at the Camp Nou after Barca endured a frustrating 2021-22 season, being knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage following the departure of club great Lionel Messi to Paris St Germain.

GAME MODEL

“We always want to be protagonists. It’s necessary to have personality, take risks and be brave,” Xavi said.

“I don’t want to change our game model. Never to take a step back, always forward. That is our DNA.

“It’s positive and I’m happy with what Lewandowski is doing. A striker needs to keep scoring and adding to his numbers.”

Xavi will again have a major headache in selecting his matchday squad after several key players reported back from international duty nursing injuries.

Frenkie de Jong, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Memphis Depay and Hector Bellerin won’t make the trip to Italy.

Inter, however, also have injury concerns over key players like Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic.

“It will be tough losses for both teams,” Xavi said about the injuries. “Inter works hard and really well. Even with the injuries, their core is what matters. They are a though rival.”

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)