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We have to work positively and bounce back, says Xavi after defeat

Doha, Qatar: Coach Xavi Hernandez was disappointed after Al Sadd lost 2-6 to Tunisian side Esperance Sportive de Tunis in the fifth-place playoff match of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019.

“I am sad and angry at the result,” Xavi said at the post-match press conference. “I don’t know how we played today without any spirit. I have to understand what happened and this is not the Al Sadd that we know.”

The coach continued: “We performed well against Monterrey, but today we played badly in the first 30 minutes and then came the red card to Abdelkarim (Hassan).”

He added: “I am very angry. We are now in a bad situation; we did not compete strongly today. Our goal has always been to win all the championships and in this tournament, it was a wonderful opportunity to participate and we must now go back.”

Asked about submitting his resignation after this loss, Xavi said: “No, absolutely I am not thinking about resigning. I am happy with my project in Al Sadd and we must be realistic. Our real display came in the first two games. We now have a league match after 6 days against Al Gharafa and we must go back and compete strongly to get wins on board.”

Regarding the impact of Hassan’s dismissal on the game, the Spanish coach indicated that the referee is not an excuse for losing today, and added: “In my opinion, Abdelkarim’s red card clinched the game in the opponent’s favour after it became 3-0. This is not an excuse because we didn’t start the game in a good way which could have allowed us to make a comeback in the second half.”

As for his opinion on the performance of the Esperance team in the tournament, Xavi said: “Esperance is a good team and showed a good level. They won the African title and competed in a combative manner.”

He added: “We now have to remedy the situation and prepare the players physically and mentally to recover and return to the local league, and I am sure the team will return and I am always positive.”

The Al Sadd coach concluded by saying: “I feel confident despite what happened and we have to work positively, we have a good team and good players. This is part of football and I must work and raise the confidence of the players to return strongly as we were in the first two months.”


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