"I've won a peace of mind voucher until Sunday," joked Xavi. The coach took a weight off his shoulders. Also his Barça, finally automatically classified for the Champions League round of 16 after two years in the Europa League. "I feel satisfied. I am calm. But it is not a liberation, I am not a prisoner," he joked. "But it is a day to be happy. It is a step that gives confidence, morale... we can believe it. The club, the players, everyone... it means a lot to be classified," said the coach who hugged everyone his players at the end of the game. The coach hopes that the victory against Porto will now be the definitive turning point. "After 0-1 everything looked pretty bleak, but we had a winning mentality in many phases, in the second half we were much better, I'm happy, very happy," he declared.
To change the chip, the coach spoke with his players at half-time. "I told them that we had to dare more and not let them put so much pressure. The team has had a winning mentality. We have made a step forward not only in the classification, but also in the game," he highlighted before focusing on the game of Barcelona's second goalkeeper. "Iñaki has been extraordinary. Not only in the saves, but also in the construction of the game. He has shown his great personality. It was a very important match for him against the strongest rival we had in this group stage. I am happy for him, is an example," he noted. "I am very grateful to up to four worthy saves in his second consecutive start to make up for Ter Stegen's absence, with back discomfort. "Ter Stegen wished me luck before the game and congratulated me afterwards," he revealed.
Other names of the night were the Joãos. Cancelo, positioned on the left-handed side, was key in the Barça comeback, scoring in the first half and then assisting João Félix in the final 2-1. "We already said that it was like a final and we had to win it, we have done it and we have put the club in the round of 16 of the Champions League, where it deserves," declared Cancelo, who retired with discomfort. "Already with the national team I noticed that my hamstrings were loaded. I think it's nothing. I will do everything to be against Atlético and I will surely arrive," he remarked.
Afterwards, the full-back wanted to praise the team's attitude and highlighted the mentality: "When the results do not arrive, the confidence is not the same. It seems that everything is going wrong and it is not like that. We have a spectacular group on a human level and now we deserve to enjoy , rest, recover and prepare for the game against Atlético de Madrid," he said.
The two players also received congratulations from Xavi. "They played very well. Cancelo has been great on the left side. But we also have Balde, Marcos Alonso... there are many alternatives," said the coach. "The truth is that I feel good playing anywhere. Balde also deserves to play. He is a great footballer," Cancelo responded when asked about the position in which he feels most comfortable playing, whether on the right or left side. .
"We are not afraid of any rival. We do have respect. We will see what the draw says in February," concluded Xavi before leaving the press room satisfied.