Xavi: Facing Al Gharafa will be difficult, our focus is on winning

Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez addressed the media ahead of the upcoming QNB Stars League Round 20 game against Al-Gharafa, stressing on the difficulty of the clash.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Xavi said: “We have the Al Gharafa game coming up next, and as you know it’s always difficult to face Al Gharafa. They have a very good coach, and an impressive team with good foreigner and local players.”

“We want to finish this competition unbeaten. Our focus is to get three points, we are playing at home, in our stadium.”

As for the prospect of player rotation, Xavi said: “Of course, we will do rotation because most of our players travelled and played many games in a small period. But there is no excuse, we need to win and we need to play well. We want to finish this competition winning these three games.”

He added: “My idea is to do rotations in these games because we play every three days. So the most important thing is that the players don’t have injuries. Everybody is okay, just Akram Afif is unavailable because of injury. But of course, many players travelled and played many games, and we will manage these three games with rotation.”

“We distribute the playing time among the players, in order to ensure that everybody is fit at the end of the season because we have other competitions like the Champions League and the Amir Cup.”

“So we need to distribute minutes much better to avoid injuries.”

Xavi also had a word of caution regarding underestimating the opponents after the recent form. “Yes, but still they are Al Gharafa,” he said. “You know everybody has extra motivation to defeat Al Sadd, especially Al Gharafa, and the game is like a derby. They are a rival for us and they have always created difficulties for us in these kinds of games.”

“It will be really tough and complicated to get three points, but we are Al Sadd and we need to win this game.”