Moving on from Messi to top-four finish: Issues that Xavi will have to address at Barcelona

Here are some of the urgent issues that Xavi will have to address at the Camp Nou

Xavi returns home

FC Barcelona on Saturday (November 6) formally announced that Xavi Hernandez is the new coach of the La Liga giants after Barca have reached an agreement with Xavi for him to manage the team for the rest of the current season and two more seasons. 

Although, the news was confirmed a day before when Qatar-based club Al Sadd released a statement, saying Xavi has informed them of his desire to go to Barcelona and they have decided not to stand in his way. 

However, the road ahead is not going to be easy for Xavi as the crisis-hit Barcelona need a revamp. Here are some of the urgent issues that Xavi will have to address at the Camp Nou immediately after taking charge:


Reach the Champions League last 16

Barcelona are in Group E alongside Bayern Munich, Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv. They are currently placed at second position with six points after winning two matches out of four they have played so far. 

Barcelona began the group stage with consecutive 3-0 losses to Bayern Munich and Benfica, however, a 1-0 victory at home to Dynamo Kiev at least revived Barcelona's hopes of reaching the last 16. But there is work still to do, with trips to Kiev and Bayern still to come, either side of a home game against Benfica. 

Escaping the group after such a poor start under Koeman would give Xavi an early injection of credibility while the club would avoid missing out on 9.6 million euros in UEFA prize money for making the knock-out stage. 


Aim for a top-four finish

Barcelona's season so far has seen more lows than highs, as they are currently placed at seventh position with 19 points (before their match against Celta Vigo on Nov 6). Their perilous financial situation means they simply cannot afford not to qualify for next season's Champions League. 

The club are 1.35 billion euros ($1.57bn) in debt and any attempt to rebuild both financially and on the pitch will depend on playing in Europe's elite competition next season.  

The given situation is going to be tricky for Xavi as he has a mammoth task ahead. 


Improve the playing style

The playing style of the team was often criticised during the previous coach Ronald Koeman's tenure. Critics have pointed out performances lacking either creativity or a clear sense of a plan. 

Xavi will have to build a team around old players and new recruits, with combining the club's traditions of possession football with a modern, counter-pressing game. 


Focus on the young players

Young players like Ansu Fati and Pedri can emerge as the club's heroes with the kind of grooming Xavi can provide. On the other hand, the likes of Ronald Araujo, Sergino Dest, Gavi, Nico Gonzalez and Alex Balde have also shown a lot of promise and need nurturing. 

The young players have the potential to thrive alongside more experienced players like Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.


Move on from Messi

Barcelona's struggle is quite evident since the departure of legendary Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain in August. The move has left a gigantic hole at Barcelona, there is also a lack of belief among fans.

Xavi will have to address that and help the team in moving on from Messi and help the players to have some confidence. 


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