Barcelona manager Xavi calls for players to change mentality after blown chance to boost La Liga title hopes

Despite the return of Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona’s title hopes are fading fast after a 1-1 away draw to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday. Unai Lopez’s goal was cancelled out by a Florian Lejeune own goal in the 82nd minute which sees Barcelona now have failed to win three of their last five matches in all competitions. Barcelona’s away form has been a concern in La Liga with Xavi’s men already drawing four matches away from home to teams lower in the table.

While injuries have been an issue for Barcelona with Gavi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and Sergi Roberto all sidelined for the match, they don’t tell the full story for why the club has dropped points as Xavi mused over things following the defeat.

“We lacked that mentality to go for it. If we want to win trophies this season, we have to change our mentality,” Xavi said about the match. “The second half was good but not enough. We woke up too late. We did what we wanted: dominated and created chances. We could have scored more. But we have to win these games if we want to win La Liga, so we have to be self-critical, too, and improve. We have to be closer to the second-half performance.”

He’s right about the half issue as in three of the draws Barcelona needed a goal in the 75th minute or later to secure a result. While some of the scoring has been due to Xavi’s adjustments during games, some of it is down to ironing out kinks that should’ve been fixed earlier in matches.

Looking to defend their La Liga title, Barcelona could be six points adrift of Girona by the end of the weekend as they’ve now fallen into fourth behind Atletico Madrid. Expected to win trophies each season, if Barcelona fail to win the league and also don’t make a deep run in Champions League, wholesale changes could be coming during the summer.

Robert Lewandowski is 35 and while his seven goals and three assists are still an excellent return, he can’t do everything alone which is why Barcelona want to get Vitor Roque early in January from Atletico Paranaense if they can raise enough money to register him. While Roque is only 18, he has scored 11 goals and assisted three more in 22 matches which could help provide the jolt that the Barcelona attack needs.

Xavi has relied heavily on young players so bringing in another while helping set Barcelona up well for the future could derail their title hopes now but without the funds to add experienced players at the moment, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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