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27.04.2009 18:34

Xavi: “It’ll all be decided at Stamford Bridge”

Edgar Fornós

Xavi Hernández said at his press conference before Barça’s Champions League semi-final clash with Chelsea that “whatever happens at Camp Nou, it’ll all be decided at Stamford Bridge”.

Chelsea, Barcelona’s next Champions League rivals, are already in the city and are looking to get a good result for the return leg in London. “Champions League ties are decided in the second game,” says Xavi Hernández. “They’re usually pretty even affairs in most cases and you never know what will happen – just look at Chelsea and Liverpool. Whatever happens at Camp Nou, it’ll all be decided at Stamford Bridge.”

Formidable Chelsea

27-04-09_WEB_XAVI_05.jpgBarça and Chelsea have come across each other a lot in the Champions League in recent years, though before the Blues’ manager was Mourinho and not Guus Hiddink. But Xavi thinks they are still as dangerous: “They’ve got the same players and they’ll make it hard for us. They are tough opponents and combine talent and strength. They’ve got match winners like Lampard, Drogba and Anelka and players who I think are the best at what they do like Essien and Terry. We’ve seen the lot against Chelsea and we know it’ll be a tough game.”

High tempo

In the quarter-final against Bayern, Barça had a comfortable ride in the second leg after winning 4-0 at home, and Xavi would like the same thing to happen this time round:
“We’ll try to play like we did against Bayern when we played intense, attacking football. If we can play our game at a high tempo they’ll find it hard going.”

Barça better than last season

Last term Barcelona reached the semi-finals only to lose to Manchester United. But Xavi thinks this Barça is “better than last season’s team. We’re pushing hard high up the pitch and tactically and especially physically we’ve improved a lot.”

Camp Nou effect

Xavi believes the Barça fans will turn out to help the team beat Chelsea. “The Camp Nou crowd will be crucial in getting through,” he says. “They’re right behind us and we hope we won’t let them down and we’ll give them a good game.”

Boost for Bernabéu

After the Chelsea game Barça goes on to Bernábeu to play Real Madrid. “A good result against Chelsea will really give us a boost for Saturday’s match,” said Xavi. “We want to continue with our good results and to do that we’re going to have to work hard to win our upcoming games.”
Xavi: “It’ll all be decided at Stamford Bridge”

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“The Spanish League is better than the EPL”
Even though there are three English clubs in the semi-finals, Xavi thinks that the Spanish League is better than the EPL. “The English league might be more intense and played at a higher tempo, but players and teams alike are more technically proficient in Spain,” he argued.

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