“We Have To Change Our Mentality... Xavi Said After Barcelona Suffered Defeat Against Real Madrid In The El Clasico.

Reigning champions Real Madrid easily defeated Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season on Sunday afternoon with goals from Karim Benzema, Federico Valverde, and Rodrygo to take the lead in La Liga.

Following a devastating midweek 3-3 draw against Inter Milan, Barca and manager Xavi Hernandez were already facing elimination from the Champions League to the Europa League for the second season in a row. The defeat was another setback for them.

Ancelotti, the manager of Real, stated on the eve of the highly anticipated game that he would not reinvent the wheel in an effort to prevent a repeat of the scoreline from the first meeting between the teams in March, when he started midfielder Luka Modric up front but lost 4-0 to the Catalans.

His starting selection was predictable; while Xavi decided to use Sergi Roberto as a full back on the right and rush back defender Jules Kounde, who has recently been nursing a hamstring injury, to cover the Brazilian while leaving midfielder Gavi on the bench. He did this because he was aware of the threat that the in-form Vinicius Junior presented from the left wing.

The visitors' tactic did not succeed because Vinicius was a dominant force on that flank and frequently broke free to go down the left channel. Vinicius' unrelenting speed was too much for Barca to handle, as it took Real Madrid just 12 minutes to break the deadlock. Vinicius shot was denied Vinicius from close range by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but Karim Benzema finished into the empty net on the rebound.

In the 35th minute, an error by defender Eric Garcia, allowed Vinicius to sprint into the area and create space for Federico Valverde, who was unmarked on the edge of the box and fired a bullet shot past the goalie ten minutes before the break.

The second half began with the Catalans chasing the game, with Ferran Torres pulling one back Barcelona having converted a backheel by Robert Lewandowski.

Xavi's men tried to get the equalizer but their effort but ultimately, it meant nothing. Real Madrid were futher awarded a penalty against the run of play, that Rodrygo converted to seal the victory.

It was Barca's first domestic defeat of the season, while the Los Blancos are now in first place with 25 points, three more than their sworn enemies.

Speaking after the match, Xavi said as quoted by Diario AS, “We didn’t deserve to lose.

“In the first half we weren’t bad, but in the second half they dominated us. With the changes, we were more aggressive. We have to change the mentality and the dynamic because in order to compete in these matches, you’ve to be more aggressive.

“We have to change our mentality if we want to win titles. I don't target the players, I'm the most responsible We’re starting a project, we’re a team under construction, we’re in a bad dynamic and we’ve to change it.”


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