Xavi: We expect a difficult game against Al-Arabi

Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez has stressed on the difficulty of his side’s upcoming game against Al-Arabi in Round 17 of the QNB Stars League.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Xavi said: “The next game is against Al Arabi and we expect it will be difficult . Everybody can remember we suffered in the final of the Amir Cup because they were defending very well. They didn’t concede too many goals in the recent period. They improved a lot with two foreigner players as centre backs – Muniesa and Azzi, both good players.”

“They improved in defence and in attack, and of course they have new players like Msakni who have increased the level of the team. It will be difficult because for sure, they will be really motivated against us.”

He added: “We are in a good moment, I insist, and inshaAllah we can win the league in the next game if Al Duhail lose against Al Gharafa. But just depending on ourselves, if we win the next two games, we are champions.”

“So the focus now is on Al Arabi. We have to change our mentality. This is another competition and later we will focus on the Qatar Cup final.”

“It is a derby against Al Arabi, and there will be a lot of tension, and a lot of motivation from Al Arabi for sure. We are in a good moment and we are the favourites to win the three points .”

As for Al-Arabi’s recent form, Xavi said: “The match will be very difficult as Al Arabi didn’t lose since we played the Amir Cup final. It means that they are in a really good moment, they improved a lot and they are working really hard, especially in defence. They didn’t concede too many chances to score for their opponents.”

“So it will be very difficult, but we are playing in our stadium and we want to create chances, we want to play well and get the three points. Both teams are in a really good moment and everyone can expect a really good match.”

Regarding the starting lineup for the game, the coach remarked: “Let’s see how the players are, it’s really early to decide everything. Maybe there will be some rotation. Some players are playing too many games in a small period. Honestly, I didn’t decide anything but maybe we can do some rotation.”

Finally, Xavi extended his wishes to his Al-Arabi counterpart Heimir Hallgrimsson who has tested positive for COVID-19. “I’m sorry for Heimir. I too got the virus in the summer. It happens, this is life.”

“I wish him all the best and a quick recovery, and I will miss him on the bench. It’s a pity that he cannot be on the bench, and of course I wish him all the best because I respect him as a coach and as a person. So, get well soon!”