Barcelona’s chaotic 5-3 La Liga defeat at home to Villarreal concluded a tumultuous night in Catalonia.
Xavi Hernandez’s side surrendered their lead in the closing stages, with the visitors scoring twice in added time to secure the victory, despite Barcelona’s comeback from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 in the final five minutes of normal time at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys.
The result leaves Barcelona eight points behind second-placed Girona in the title race, raising questions about Xavi’s leadership. Despite the anticipated scrutiny on the former Spanish international, midfielder Frenkie de Jong expressed support for the manager and asserted that the team bears the responsibility.
“It’s our fault, the players fault. If it doesn’t work out it’s our fault”, as per reports from DAZN, via Diario AS.
“This can’t happen to a top team. If you come back and are 3-2 up, you can’t leave that much space on a counter attack.
“We have to do much better. We have complete confidence in Xavi and the staff, they’re doing a good job. This can’t happen and it’s our fault.”
Barcelona’s prospects of defending their league title appear increasingly challenging as their rivals maintain momentum since the beginning of 2024. Xavi’s team will face Osasuna in midweek La Liga action before traveling to the Basque County to play against Alaves on February 3.