Xavi: It won’t be an easy game against Al-Rayyan, it will be an early final

Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez described his side’s next match against Al Rayyan, in the semi-finals of the 2021 Qatar Cup, as an “early final”.

Speaking during the pre-match press conference, Xavi said: “We in Al Sadd want to win this cup, which is a completely different tournament from the league. We have a big challenge this season, which is to win all the tournaments and I am proud of the players because they have done an excellent job.”

He added: “If we play as we play in the league, it will be difficult to beat Al Sadd, we must have the utmost humility and we must respect everyone. The match will not be easy and it is an early final between two excellent teams. We have our goal, which is to qualify for the final.”

The coach continued, saying: “My mission as a coach is to always motivate the team to give their 100%. Relaxation will be the first step towards defeat.”

“We are in the first position (in the league), but it came with everyone’s effort, and an example of that is Baghdad Bounedjah.”

“He is an excellent player and he can play with any club in Europe. He enjoys playing and plays for the team with humility. We are on the right path as long as the players continue to work as a group.”

As for the changes in the Wolves’ lineup from one match to the next, Xavi said: “I would say that I am very lucky to have all these Al Sadd players because they are the ones who made me a good coach. I have 25 good players and they are all qualified to play as a starter. I feel sad when I put any player on the bench: for example, Musaab Khidir and Ahmed Suhail.”

Xavi added: “The five substitutions give a great opportunity for players to participate. The league is not easy, many teams defend well but we have players who make the difference.”

He further said: “Our aim is the Champions League of course, and we are competing strongly in all the tournaments. I’m very happy with what my team is offering now. I am very happy to be with Al-Sadd and to be in Qatar.”