Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his support for Barcelona counterpart Xavi Hernandez amid the Spanish champions’ recent struggles, sitting fourth in La Liga after a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano. Ancelotti, confident in Xavi’s capabilities, believes the Barcelona coach can navigate the challenges and steer the team back on track.
“Xavi, like me, knows football very well, and there is criticism,” Ancelotti stated. “Sometimes it can happen, but Xavi has the experience to manage all this. He knows the atmosphere (around Barca) and I think he has everything he needs to manage the situation.”
Barcelona, currently leading Group H, faces a pivotal Champions League clash against Porto, with both teams level on nine points. Ancelotti believes Xavi has the expertise to handle the situation and guide Barcelona to the knockout rounds.
Barcelona aim to secure progress in the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who missed the Rayo draw due to back pain. Meanwhile, Real Madrid has already qualified for the last 16 and leads Group C by five points ahead of Napoli.
Looking ahead to their match against Napoli, Ancelotti noted, “The change of coach gives them more motivation,” referring to Napoli’s recent coaching change from Rudi Garcia to Walter Mazzarri. Ancelotti, having coached Napoli himself between 2018-19, recognizes Mazzarri’s familiarity with Italian football and anticipates a motivated performance from Napoli.