FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez criticised the media for making what he believes to have been a negative impact on his players.
Coming off two defeats in three matches, Barca were once again limp in the first half against Alaves on Sunday after conceding in under a minute.
Following the interval at the Montjuic Stadium, however, the Catalans rallied back as a double from Robert Lewandowski sealed a 2-1 win.
During his post-match press conference, Xavi put his neck on the line by stating: “I have zero doubts that the criticism from the press is affecting the team.”
“It happened to me as a player and I can see it now. There’s a massive wave of negativity around the team that is harming us.”
“The criticism does not affect me, it affects the players,” Xavi stressed.
“I can see it in their faces. People said I was Barca’s cancer [when he was a player], and now I’m here as the manager.”
Despite the rough treatment that he and his men have received from local newspapers such as SPORT and Mundo Deportivo as of late, Xavi insisted that he never looks “at the negative part of things.
“I only try to look for solutions to our problems. Solutions so that our players can enjoy themselves on the pitch.
“I can tell that they’re not enjoying [playing] now,” Xavi added.
Xavi accepted that it’s “true” his team are in a bad moment.
“But even like that, we managed to win a match, and that has a lot of merit.”
Moving forward, he believes that more needs to be demanded from the players so that they give the best version of themselves.
“They have been able to find the necessary courage to win when things were not going well and that is also very important,” Xavi said.
With the international break now upon us, Barca will not be seen in action again until November 25 when they face Rayo Vallecano away.
Their next home match finds them hosting Porto three days later, with the outcome of the tie pretty much determining who wins the Champions League’s Group H.