FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández was forced to play at just five minutes notice before his team's 3-1 UEFA Champions League victory against VfB Stuttgart but it was not his own 'cold' start which worried the Spanish international, rather the fact that Barça had to fight back from an early deficit for the second consecutive match.
Xavi, who replaced Deco after the Portuguese playmaker picked up an injury during the pre-match warm-up, said: "We were a goal down in less than five minutes at the weekend against [RC] Deportivo La Coruña and again tonight against Stuttgart and it really has to stop. OK, we can take the positives from the fact that we fought back and won both times because that tells you something about our team spirit and fighting qualities. But it's not just coincidence when that happens a couple of times and we need to put a stop to it."
Overall, the 27-year-old was pleased with the way Barcelona completed their dominance of Group E. From Xavi's perspective, having assisted the returning Samuel Eto'o in scoring his first goal for the Catalan side since last May, the flow of goal opportunities they created was very positive. "I think that we finally got into our stride and gave the crowd some football to enjoy," he said. "But from a competitive point of view you always know that if you are creating a large number of chances then as the strikers regain form and fitness we'll begin to score more and more.
"It was a good way to put a seal on our group victory and but now I don't want to 'choose' a team for the draw next week. It makes no difference to me if we draw Liverpool [FC] again, like last season when they knocked us out, because if we are to win the tournament then we need to defeat whoever comes our way," he claimed.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.