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Barcelona: Xavi plays down significance of Atletico Madrid clash

Xavi Hernandez at Barcelona
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The Catalans hope to extend their lead at the top of the La Liga table by beating the Madrid giants.

Xavi Hernandez insists Barcelona’s upcoming clash against Atletico Madrid is nowhere near being a title decider.

Barca returned to La Liga action when they drew 1-1 against Espanyol in the Catalan derby last weekend. Xavi’s men then claimed a hard-fought win over third-tier side Intercity in the Cope del Rey.

The Catalans hope to return to winning ways when they meet Atletico on Sunday. But Xavi isn’t keen on overstating the importance of the match.

“Every week is like this: the next game is the most important. It won’t decide anything, but [dropping points] would be a blow on the table,” he told reporters.

“It’s a complicated place to go and they are a rock defensively.

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“It will be difficult for us to generate things and we have to be more effective than in the last few two games, [but] it’s not a transcendental game for the future of LaLiga.”

Individual errors have complicated a number of games for Barcelona this season. 

The Catalans have shown they are yet to find their rhythm after the World Cup break. But Xavi believes they only need to get to the right mindset to start winning their matches.

He added: “It’s more of a mental issue than a game issue.

“We’ve dominated and created chances, but we have to kill the matches. We have to be more forceful in certain areas. We’re far superior to our rivals but we make occasional mistakes.

“In the end we all fail. We try to give the players confidence so they don’t make mistakes, but football is a game of mistakes.

“We have to minimise those mistakes to win. Against Intercity we made life difficult for ourselves.”