Xavi, who was relieved, acknowledged the importance of Barcelona’s ability to withstand a strong late attack by Athletic Bilbao and emerge victorious.
Xavi referred to Barcelona’s 1-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao as a “golden victory” because they were able to withstand a late surge by their opponents and maintain their nine-point lead before the Clasico next weekend.
Although Raphinha’s goal in the first half was the only one scored, Athletic Bilbao put immense pressure on Barcelona towards the end of the match. Raul Garcia had hit the post earlier, and Alex Berenguer struck the woodwork before Inaki Williams thought he had scored, only for the goal to be disallowed by VAR.
Additionally, Nico Williams missed a tap-in, Yuri Berchiche’s follow-up shot was cleared off the line, and Andreas Christensen blocked Gorka Guruzeta’s volley in front of the goal. The win was crucial as it prepares Barcelona to face second-placed Real Madrid at Camp Nou.
A “Golden Victory” for Barcelona
“The same thing has happened to us again,” Xavi said. “We have been at a good level for 75 minutes, although we have to attack better.
“It was a difficult game. In San Mames you end up suffering, and that’s what happened. It’s a golden victory for us and we take three very important points.
“We maintained the nine-point lead, and we go into the Clasico with confidence.
“But we have to get better offensively. We had two or three clear chances in the second half: from Ansu [Fati]; from [Alejandro] Balde, who didn’t choose well; from [Robert] Lewandowski with a header.
“We have to improve in that aspect, be calmer and more patient and play more in the attacking half. Defensive solidity must also be valued, but it’s true that we have to improve in the attack.”