Xavi: Excited for the start of the Champions League, facing Foolad will be difficult

Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez addressed the media ahead of his side’s opening game of the 2021 AFC Champions League against Iran’s Foolad, and stressed on the difficulty of the clash.

Xavi began the pre-match press conference at King Fahd International Stadium with Ramadan wishes to all Muslims.

He then went on to speak about Wednesday’s game, saying: “We have in front of us an Iranian club, Foolad, who have a good coach and players. They did really well in the playoff against Al Ain. So, it’s going to be difficult.”

“We must give our best. Champions League games are always tough. It will not be easy for us but we have a lot of experience to give our best, and we are excited and want to get a win in the first game.”

He added: “Qatari players have improved a lot over the recent past, especially the last six years, both physically and technically. Also, the addition of a number of foreign players has helped increase the strength of the league. All of this will help our team in the Champions League.”

As for the absence of Akram Afif, Xavi said: “Akram is the best player in Qatar, and in Asia last year. He is a very important player for the team and his absence will have an impact, but we are ready to play without him and we have many capable and excellent players.”

When asked if playing outside Qatar would affect the team, the coach replied: “There is no big difference between playing in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as the matches are being held without fans. We need to play well and get points. The only difficult thing is to play 6 games in a short period, and the team must be fully ready to compete.”

Xavi concluded by saying: “We must win and get the points needed to qualify. This is what we are thinking about since the start. We need to give our best and it is important that we don’t drop points, because second place does not guarantee qualification. Our goal is to finish first.”