Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez spoke of the readiness of his side ahead of the upcoming clash with Persepolis in the Round of 16 of the 2020 AFC Champions League.
Speaking during the pre-match press conference, Xavi said: “We are very excited, we want to win and reach the quarter-finals. We will play against Persepolis, which is the best Iranian team, and it will be a difficult game, like a final, for us.”
The coach added: “It will be an excellent game and a great opportunity to qualify for the quarter-finals. We respect Persepolis and we will not forget that they knocked us out in the 2018 semi-finals.”
“We must play with balance and great passion in order to get the win. We hope to achieve this by giving our best on the pitch. Our priority in the match against Sepahan was to rest some players after qualifying, but for Persepolis, they needed to qualify.”
He added: “We will face a strong and difficult team. We will play for possession and control of the match, and this is a key point for us. We have an advantage with the rest that the players got, but we must be fully prepared.”
Speaking about playing against the Iranian teams, the coach said: “I told the players that the most spirited matches that I have faced in my career are always against Iranian teams, including Persepolis, who play with great enthusiasm. So we need to play with a lot of passion, like it’s a final and always be focused throughout the match, even if we reach the penalty shootout. Otherwise, we will struggle to achieve what we are looking for, which is going to the quarter-finals.”
Xavi also pointed out that the Al-Sadd will have a full-strength team against Persepolis, and said: “All the players of the team are fully prepared and there are no absentees.”
As for playing at Education City Stadium after playing the previous four games at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, the coach said: “Education City Stadium is a big stadium, but it does not change the way we play. Everything is excellent; the conditions are perfect and the weather is very good and it is time to give our best to qualify for the next round.”