Xavi praises mature Real Madrid after El Clasico win over Barcelona

Barcelona coach Xavi says Real Madrid beat his side in the Clasico because they were more mature.

MADRID (AFP) – Barcelona coach Xavi says Real Madrid beat his side in the Clasico because they were more mature.

Los Blancos cruised to a 3-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday to replace Barca at the top of La Liga and go three points clear of their Catalan rivals.

The defeat came after a draw with Inter Milan in the Champions League, leaving Barcelona on the brink of their second consecutive group stage elimination.

“They beat us in maturity by knowing how to compete,” Xavi said at a press conference. “We played less well than our opponents, that’s why we lost the match. They are a more mature team than ours at the moment.”

Barcelona signed various players over the summer, including La Liga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha.

Real Madrid’s squad is healthy as the only player who didn’t start in the Clasico last season was midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.

Madrid took the lead through Karim Benzema after Vinicius Junior landed behind Sergi Roberto while Fede Valverde was second on scorecard. Ferran Torres pulled one back but a Rodrygo penalty sealed Madrid’s victory.

“We played against a great team who are very sure of their plan,” continued Xavi. “The first goal must not happen. And you come into the game 2-0 after they only had three chances and we made different ones.

“You have to mature. Against Inter, Bayern Munich, Milan, here, these are games where we were not (mature enough) but we will learn.”

Barcelona host Villarreal on Thursday to keep the pressure on the division’s new leaders, who are due to travel to Elche on Wednesday.

“We have to change the dynamic,” added Xavi. “The season is very long, sometimes you are down, but you have to be strong, keep believing, work, I don’t know any other way to succeed.

“It’s only three points and now we have to prepare for the next game against Villarreal.”

KEY EL CLASICO MOMENTS

Barcelona president Joan Laporta was asked to leave the officials’ dressing room after going there to ask questions about the decisions taken after the defeat, according to the official account by referee Jose Sanchez Martinez.

Madrid were awarded a late penalty when Eric Garcia stepped on Rodrygo’s foot while Robert Lewandowski was beaten by Dani Carvajal, but Barcelona weren’t awarded a penalty.

“I think the referee did a good job,” said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. “We were the better team, stronger, we managed to get the ball out well because they put a lot of pressure.

“Defensively, we all played well together and committed, we won the game in the first half.”

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos who played a key part in the first goal was one of the best players. The former Germany international has a contract that expires in 2023 and hasn’t decided whether to stay at Madrid yet, according to Spanish reports.

“He knows exactly what we all think, me, his teammates, the club,” Ancelotti said. “We don’t have to push him, he’s so smart and Madrid love him so much that whatever decision he makes we’ll be happy.”

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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