Xavi: We are ready to face Qatar, we must keep going

Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez has stressed on the difficulty of his side’s upcoming game against Qatar SC in Round 11 of the QNB Stars League, which will be played on Monday at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Xavi said: “In my opinion, we are playing against the team in the best form in the competition, because they won five games in a row, with their new player Belaili making the difference. They also have other good foreigner players – Berrahma, Galvez, Karimi and Okpotu.”

“So they have confidence, but we also have confidence. I think we can expect a top match. They have shown a good level, and a good performance but we are also in a good condition. I expect a high-level game.”

He added: “We need the three points. The problem is that we already lost Akram Afif, as he got the coronavirus. It’s a problem for us because he’s one of the best players in our squad, so we will miss him.”

“But it’s okay, and we are ready to compete, even without Akram Afif in the team.”

Stressing on the difficulty of the upcoming game, the coach said: “In the league, all the games are difficult especially now against this team. They are in really good form and won five games in a row and that’s why it will be more difficult than usual.”

“They have a good coach. In my opinion, Younes is working really well. He did really well also in Al Markhiya last season. So he’s a good coach, and he was a good player too. He has a lot of experience.”

“So, it means a lot for us to get these three points.”

Asked about his side’s current form, Xavi said: “We are in the top position, we are performing well and we are really happy but it doesn’t finish here.”

“We have to keep going, and now we have defeat Qatar, one of the best teams in the competition.”

“It (the campaign) is not over, we play this game and after that there’s the last stage. We haven’t won anything. We have to keep going.”

He added: “Of course, we won the Amir Cup but we have to forget that and focus now on this competition, and the match against Qatar, and we are ready to compete.”

As for the effect of Akram’s absence, Xavi said: “Akram cannot play. It’s a pity because we will miss him a lot; he’s one of the best players in the squad. He’s been making the difference for the team and in my opinion, he’s the best Qatari player in the country.”

“So we will miss him a lot, but thanks to God, we have a big squad and many players to replace him.”

“But for sure, we will miss him. Hopefully, he can recover well and be in the team as soon as possible.”