RIYADH: Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez was proud of his team even though they lost 3-2 to bitter rivals Real Madrid in a thrilling Spanish Super Cup semi-final in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Real beat Barca for the seventh time in eight Super Cup clashes but Xavi thought his side deserved to win.
“We had it in our hands,” Xavi told a news conference in Riyadh. “We dominated Madrid for most of the game but we still lack experience, patience and effectiveness. We are close. We cornered Real. It is a pity.”
Xavi praised his players’ character in a game they entered as huge underdogs against the LaLiga leaders.
“It was a day to be brave and put our complexes behind us. This Barca can compete with anyone,” Xavi said. “We will go home angry and frustrated. We could have won. We took risks and they took advantage of our mistakes.”
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti thought the game was well balanced.
“I think it was a match between two great teams,” Ancelotti told. “They controlled the possession but we conceded the first goal due to bad luck. There were no dominant or dominated (team). We went back on purpose to look for the counter-attack. The three goals that we scored were spectacular.”
Ancelotti praised his strikers Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr., who between them have scored 29 Real Madrid’s 45 goals in LaLiga this season, but he is concerned about fatigue.
“It was a big physical effort,” he said. “But we have held out well to the end. The fresh legs that came out from the bench did well. We are tired but happy.”