Xavi: It is an important game for us against Al-Duhail, we want to win and extend our lead

Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez described the upcoming QNB Stars League Round 9 clash against Al-Duhail as a “really tough game” that his side need to win to extend their lead at the top.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Xavi said: “In my opinion, the games between Al-Sadd and Al-Duhail are the best in the country right now. Currently we are the two best teams in the competiton, and our team is at the top of the table with a three-point lead over them.”

As for his view on Al-Duhail, the coach said: “They’ve signed really good players like Toby Alderweireld and Nam Tae-hee, and they have other great foreigner players like Olunga and Edmilson.”

“It will be a difficult game. We are very excited to play these kinds of games. They’ve changed their coach, and I think they have a very good coach – Luiz Castro; he works really well and you can see that in the team.”

He added: “We expect a really tough game and we have to play at our best level to get the three points for sure.”

About his team’s readiness for the game, Xavi said: “Yesterday, I told the players that if we get the six points – the three we got against Al-Ahli and the next three against Al-Duhail – then of course, the difference will be six points and we will be in the best position to win the league again.”

“For sure, it is still early, and of course, this game will not decide anything. But it will be very important because we can get this lead of six points.”

He added: “However, I have to insist that it will be really tough. We defeated them in the last 4-5 games but they are Al-Duhail. They are powerful, they have good players and they are a top team in the competition.”

Asked about the status of Akram Afif and Boualem Khoukhi, Xavi replied: “InshaAllah, we hope we can have all the players ready for the game. It is still early. We’re talking about two very important players – Akram and Khoukhi – who can make the difference in their positions.”

“I expect we can count on them but we have to see how they feel. There are two days for the game and I’m positive but it depends on how they feel.”