Xavi: We cannot relax against Al-Ahli, three points will take us to the top

Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez spoke of the importance of his side’s upcoming QNB Stars League Round 5 game against Al-Ahli, describing the opponents as the best in the competition so far.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Xavi said: “After defeating Duhail, the next game is very important because Al Ahli didn’t lose any points and they’re doing really well, especially with the coach – I have to say that he is doing a really great job – and the team is totally different from the last season.”

He added: “For us, it is a final because if we win these three points, we’ll take first place. So it’s a final for us and a very important game. It will be tough because they have a lot of confidence now and they are in their best period of the last few years.”

“It will be really complicated of course, but now every game is like a final for us. We want to win this competition; it’s our main target.”

Asked about Al-Sadd’s approach to the game, Xavi said: “Al-Sadd also is in a great moment, after defeating Al-Duhail , but we cannot relax because Al-Ahli is a great team with great players – especially the foreign players like Diame, Lowry, El Zhar, Perez and Ebrahimi. It’s a really good team so it’ll be really tough. But of course, we are Al-Sadd and we always want to win.”

“It will be a very interesting game between the first and second placed teams. It’s possible for us to get the three points and take first place, so it’s a very important game against the best team in the competition until now. They won all the points playing well, with intensity and rhythm and creating chances. They’re in very good form so it will be a very interesting game.”

As for his side’s performance in their last game against Al-Duhail, the coach said: “We did really well. I think the players understood very well the different systems – we started with three at the back plus two defensive midfielders. We opened (up the play) really well with Akram and Nam. We played really, really well. We dominated the game and we had the ball. We are very happy with all the players, especially the young players who are helping us a lot.”

“I’m very happy but we didn’t do anything (yet). We took three points but the league continues, and now we are already thinking about our next game against Al-Ahli.”