‘I want to play the best, and beat them’, says Xavi as Barcelona set up Supercopa de Espana final against Real Madrid

Barcelona set up an El Clasico final against Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana thanks to Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s shoot-out heroics.

Xavi is looking forward to a “desired final” as Barcelona set up a Supercopa de Espana decider against Real Madrid.

The Blaugrana had to win a penalty shoot-out against Real Betis on Thursday to seal their place in Sunday’s final after a 2-2 draw in Riyadh.

Robert Lewandowski and Nabil Fekir both scored to take the game to extra time, before a stunning volley from Ansu Fati and a backheel effort from Loren Moron sent it to penalties.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen was the hero for the Blaugrana as he saved from both Juanmi and William Carvalho to win the game, and his head coach noted the morale beating their El Clasico rivals in the final could have.

“It is a desired final and now we are going for the title,” Xavi said. “I always want to play against the best and beat them.

“It’s a trophy and therefore important, but it’s not going to change the season either, although it would give us more morale and peace of mind for the rest of the season. We will try to fight for the three remaining titles no matter what happens.”

Xavi also complimented Ter Stegen’s role in the victory against an impressive Betis, adding: “Since I’ve been here I’ve been delighted with him, he’s the icing on the cake.”

It was not a classic performance from the LaLiga leaders in Saudi Arabia, with Betis having more shots (15-12) across 120 minutes.

Xavi noted his team had failed to go on to win in normal time or extra time despite taking the lead in both, and wants his players to evaluate how they have managed games since the World Cup.

Barca drew 1-1 with Espanyol after taking the lead in their first game after Qatar 2022, lost a goal advantage three times in their Copa del Rey game at Intercity before eventually winning 4-3, and were hanging on by the end of their 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

“Other days we have done very well but since the World Cup break, we have struggled to seal matches when we have been dominant and have played with personality,” he said.

“We have to critique ourselves… we have to improve to achieve success this year.”

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