Barcelona Manager Xavi Hernandez feels the criticism of star striker Robert Lewandowski has been overly harsh in recent weeks, as the Polish forward enjoys a more discreet start to the season.
The Blaugrana struggled to generate on the whole, registering just one shot inside the box from open play after the tenth minute. Xavi admitted that his side had to improve.
“Well, we expected the type of game we found. We predicted that we could have superiority in the middle. I think we controlled the game in many moments, playing but it’s true we need to create more, our timing wasn’t as good as it could have been when it came to attacking spaces. We didn’t attack many spaces in the first half.”
“They defended well, they were comfortable in defence because we didn’t move them much – I think we need to improve things. In the the first few minutes we had two clear chances but we didn’t convert them so we need to be more efficient. We were ahead, we started the second half well. Higher pressure, arriving from the second line. It’s difficult, because they defended very well. The things we are working on in training are being reinforced, I think our game plan is becoming stronger but I agree with you, we need to improve our game.”
“We expected the type of game we found. We predicted that we could have superiority in the middle. I think we controlled the game at points, playing but it’s true we need to create more, our timing wasn’t as good as it could have been when it came to attacking spaces.”
— Football España (@footballespana_) September 4, 2023
Lewandowski won and converted the penalty to win the match against Osasuna on Sunday night, and also notched the winner against Villarreal the previous week.
However many feel that his contribution to Barcelona’s all-round play, and ability to get into the right positions has been rather disappointing. Xavi came out in defence of his veteran leader.
“I think we’re too demanding with him. Robert’s given us four points in the last two games, he scored in the last match, he scored today, he was decisive and that’s what a goalscorer is for. He played well today, he played more simple today, played a good positional game.”
“We spoke during the week about him not having as many touches but he was very well positioned. I think he played well. Even if we had won without his goal, I think he played as good game.”
“But if you add to that that he forced the penalty, he converted it, the other day he gave us the win. We can’t say he’s in a bad moment, he played very well today. I think we are too demanding sometimes of the players. I’m happy with him today, he works hard and he’s Lewandowski, he’s our goalscorer.”
Typically, Barcelona are held to high standards in terms of style, and more so when they are not winning. Xavi and Lewandowski will survive the full heat of the press while the three points continue to arrive, but without more danger, will struggle to do just that.