Al-Sadd head coach Xavi Hernandez expressed his satisfaction with his team’s preparations for the new season, and affirmed the aim of repeating the previous season’s achievements.
Speaing on the sidelines of the preseason training camp, Xavi said: “We are at the start of the new season, at our training camp in Olot, Catalonia.”
“We were here two years ago, and it is amazing here, with good facilities and a good hotel. We are focused on the new season and we are excited to prepare well for it. It will be a difficult season because the Qatari international players may be more focused on the national team. But we are ready to compete as always.”
He added: “Hopefully we can make the supporters of Al-Sadd happy, especially as we are really excited to start the season.”
As for the changes in the team, the coach said: “We didn’t change many players. We signed Andre Ayew; he’s a very good player, professional and talented. Many young players will also join the team. I wish all the best for the new players and the entire team.”
Xavi has won all the titles on offer in Qatar as a coach, and remained energetic in his aim to win more. “This is my third season at Al-Sadd,” said the former midfield superstar. “I’m still really excited to prepare. I think everything will be very good during the season.”
Asked about the 5-3 friendly win over Spanish side UE Figueres, Xavi replied: “I think it was a good test for us. It was the first game for us, of course, it was a friendly game but Al-Sadd always want to compete. We want to see the new players adapt well with the team. I am happy that we competed really well.”
“Of course, we have time ahead of us since we won’t play in the QSL until September but I think everything will be alright.”
Regarding the team’s ambition in the upcoming season, he said: “We are Al-Sadd and we are a winning team. Of course, the last season was a historic season. But we want to compete and keep going. I think we are the favourites in all the competitions, especially the local competitions.”
He added: “I am very excited to continue working hard for the team, to help the players so that the fans can be proud of us. Hopefully we can repeat the same achievements as the last season.”
The 2020-21 season ended with Xavi winning the Best Coach award in the QSL. Asked about this feat, the coach stated: “It’s not my main objective to win the Best Coach award. Of course, I am proud but not for myself, but for the players.”
“This is due to the players and this is because of our teamwork – the technical staff, the medical staff and the kitmen. Everybody worked really well and we need to continue like that. We need to keep going. I am proud, not of myself but of the team, especially the players. In the end, we are here to help the players, who are mainly responsible for the success.”
Several players in Xavi’s squad were away with the Qatar national team at the recently concluded Concacaf Gold Cup, and the coach was full of praise for their performances.
“I am really proud of our players in the national team, of Felix Sanchez, the technical staff and the management. They are working really well. We are all here to help the country and the 2022 project,” said Xavi.
“I think the national team will be ready to compete in 2022. It was an amazing performance in the Gold Cup and it was a pity that they didn’t go through to the final. I think they deserved to go through but this is football. At least, they showed a really good picture and they are ready to compete against everybody.”
Finally, asked about his former teammate Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona, Xavi said: “First of all, Leo is my friend and I wish him all the best. Of course, it is a pity, especially for me as a Barcelona supporter. But this is life.”
“Hopefully he can be successful wherever he goes. Of course, it will be really difficult. I cannot imagine Messi wearing a shirt other than that of Barcelona but this is the reality. It is a pity and yesterday, everybody was sad but this is life. I wish him all the best.”