Xavi suggests Barcelona effort levels changed after quit decision

  • Xavi announced in January that he would leave Barcelona at the end of the season
  • The Spaniard reversed decision last week and will remain until next summer
  • Legendary former midfielder questions whether players gave their all early in campaign
Xavi is excited to remain at Barca
Xavi is excited to remain at Barca / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Xavi has suggested that Barcelona's players have given more since he announced his intention to leave the club in January.

The Spaniard communicated his intention to step down as manager after a difficult run of results, claiming that his work had "not been valued enough" and that the constant negativity had caused "wear and tear".

Barcelona's fortunes have dramatically turned around in the three months that have followed, though they were recently eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage after a crushing defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

Xavi has been under pressure to reverse his decision after a lengthy unbeaten run in La Liga and he eventually relented last week, agreeing to stay on as Barca's manager for the duration of his contract.

Speaking in the aftermath of the 4-2 win over Valencia in La Liga - a game that saw under-fire striker Robert Lewandowski score a second half hat-trick - Xavi admitted that a factor in his decision to quit was to motivate Barcelona's players, who perhaps had not given enough in the early months of the season.

"We try to be demanding with them. It is the history of this club," Xavi said. "My decision to announce goodbye was meant to do so. Maybe they could have given more.

Robert Lewandowski
Barca achieved victory over Valencia / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

"So it was. I think that both at Montjuïc and at the Bernabeu we deserved much more [against PSG and Real Madrid].

He continued of his current feelings: "I’m very good, I explained it the other day in a natural way. In January I felt responsible for the bad results and I thought the best thing was to step aside.

'But then I saw the confidence of the president, of Deco, of the club and in particular of the footballers, which is fundamental. Barca, above all. It’s very emotional. The Catalans and the Cules are like that. Sometimes we do great and sometimes we all destroy it. I have felt the support of the club, Deco and the players."

Barcelona's win saw them leapfrog Girona into second place in La Liga, ahead of a crunch clash between the pair on Saturday, with the title already surrendered to bitter rivals Real Madrid barring a dramatic end of season collapse from Carlo Ancelotti's side.