Doha, Qatar: Al Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez spoke of his satisfaction with his players’ performance at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, while admitting that he was disappointed with the results.
“I am happy with the performance and the character of the team in this tournament. But we are not happy with the result, especially in the Monterrey match, in which we expected to at least reach extra time,” ??remarked Xavi, during the pre-match press conference ahead of the fifth-place play-off game against Esperance.
The coach added: “In the first game against Hienghene, we played a great game and we won. I am happy with our participation. We wanted to go far in this tournament but in the second match, it was Monterrey who reached the semi-final, and they deserve it. I am proud of my players’ performance. Luck wasn’t on our side and we made mistakes, and we lacked something in finishing off attacks. We were very close to reaching the semi-finals.”
And on the upcoming Esperance clash, Al Sadd coach said: “Esperance has many excellent players, who are warriors, in addition to a great line of defence and a wonderful coach. They are the African champions and this means a lot. We are ready for the match and we are capable of getting past Esperance and finishing in fifth place.”
He added: “We have a team full of young players and we can build on that. We could have done better but we must now work with them to make the best of them.”
Xavi continued: “Yes, we made big mistakes against Monterrey, but we competed well and this is part of football. I always talk to players about my great confidence in them and in life we ??must continue to work regardless of what happens.”
Regarding the ability of Al Sadd star Abdelkarim Hassan to play in the European leagues, the Spanish coach remarked: “Abdelkarim can play in the major leagues. He is a wonderful person and a fighter who has great spirit. He is also a trustworthy and professional player. This (playing the major leagues) depends on him, in terms of his ambition, mentality and performance. He is an amazing player and is capable of playing in large teams.”
Xavi said: “I am completely satisfied with the performance of the players, but I am not satisfied with the results. I must ask them for their best and to win all the tournaments that we participate in, and this is not easy.”
Regarding his ambitions to coach the Barcelona team in the future, Xavi said: “One of my dreams is to train Barcelona and I have spoken of this in many press conferences. But I am now a happy man in the place where I am and I want to develop in Qatari football and to develop by myself. I have won one title with Al Sadd and I am looking for more. I am happy that I am on the right path.”
On the difficulty of switching from a player to a coach, Xavi pointed out that it is not an easy thing, saying: “I feel more responsible as a coach in the event of winning and losing and there are always many criticisms from the media. I also have to deal with everyone from assistants and medical staff to administrative staff and players. It may have been better to remain a player but things are different now.”