Barcelona’s Knock-out Stage Qualification Eases Xavi Hernandez Managerial Pressure As Deco Hints At Renewal

Written by Olaleye Oluwadamilola

Under pressure Barcelona’s manager Xavi Hernandez who lead the team to another UCL knock-out stage qualification following the comeback win against Porto yesterday has received vote of confidence from Sporting director Deco who recently hints at a possible renewal despite a string of woeful performances this season.

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The former player turned manager has been under pressure for the last few weeks as a result of a poor run of form for Barcelona and not only have they struggled with results, but performances have been particularly underwhelming for the Catalans who are hoping to defend the La Liga title.

Putting the league form aside, Barcelona came through a very shaky start to pick up an excellent victory over Porto at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys as this is a result that ensures that the Catalans will be playing in the Champions League knockout stages something that they missed out on last season.

Some of the pressure was Xavi was lifted by the victory over Porto and after the match, Deco told Movistar+ (via MD) that his and the club’s upmost confidence is in the manager, “at Barcelona, there are always rumours. If we renewed Xavi, it’s because we trust him.”

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Xavi Hernandez brought back the likes of Ronald Araujo, Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Felix for the match, although these changes did not have the desired effect early on as Barcelona struggled to assert themselves.

Porto would end up taking a deserved lead after 30 minutes, with Pepe (not the ex-Real Madrid defender) firing past Inaki Pena. However, Barcelona were only behind for two minutes, as Joao Cancelo completed an excellent solo run by firing beyond Diogo Costa to equalise.

The Portuguese right back was involved in the winning goal, too. He linked up excellently with Felix on the left, and the latter side-footed home from six yards out, scoring his first goal in over two months in the process.

The result means that Barcelona are three points clear of Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk, who play each other in two weeks’ time. They can secure top spot in Group H with a point against Royal Antwerp on MD6.


Atletico Madrid have picked up an excellent three points in the Champions League after they won 3-1 against Feyenoord in Rotterdam. The result means that Diego Simeone’s side have secured their place in the knockout stages, having failed to qualify last season.

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With Lazio defeating Celtic earlier in the day, it means Atletico Madrid and Lazio are through to the last 16, and they face off in two weeks to determine who will finish top of Group E.

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