Football

Xavi calls on Barca fans for crucial Champions League clash with Porto

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Barcelona have another chance to secure qualification for the knockout rounds of the Champions League when they host Porto, and Xavi Hernandez’s side need the fans support for this vital game, the manager said on Monday.

The Spanish side looked to be easing towards a last 16 place after winning their opening three games, but defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in their previous match leaves progress still in doubt, having failed to emerge from the group stage in the last two seasons.

“It’s a very important, vital game for us. It’s up to us to be first,” Xavi told reporters.

“After two years, it’s a great opportunity. We’re playing at home. We need the fans. Hopefully it’s going to be a magical night.

“It’s essential that the fans are there. The last few years, we have suffered. It’s important that they are with the team.”

Barca also failed to win their most recent LaLiga game, drawing 1-1 at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, which saw them slip to fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Real Madrid.

“Lately, things aren’t going our way, but the Vallecano game was there to be won,” the manager said.

“We created play and in the second half we were more aggressive. We lack continuity in the game, but people are comfortable with the plan. The dressing room is united.”

Xavi is also confident that he has the backing of the club president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco, despite the recent poor results.

“I feel supported by the club in every way. I talk to the president and Deco every day,” Xavi said.

“We have friendships. They believe in the project, they know how we work. I feel total confidence.”

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