"Real Madrid are still the favourites", says Xavi ahead of El Clasico Copa del Rey tie
Barcelona manager Xavi insists off-field controversies have not affected his players ahead of El Clasico.
in the second leg of the Cop Del Ray semi-final on Wednesday after a 1-0 win in the first leg.
Barcelona is subject to an investigation from UEFA and Spanish prosecutors for charges of alleged corruption. The club has been accused of allegedly paying over €7 million to the company owned by former vice-president of the refereeing committee in Spain, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.
Ahead of the match, Xavi said his team has not been affected by off-field matters.
"Extra-sporting issues don't go into the locker room. We talk about how to defend, how to attack. We are not talking about UEFA, nor Negreira,"
he told a press conference.
"We are focused on the Cup: there is a Clasico, they will come wanting revenge and we want to show that we can win again. The Camp Nou has to be a pressure cooker.
"I listen very little [to outside comments] and we value from within. The president values it very much. If the boss is not happy, it matters what is said from outside.
"Nothing should divert us, tomorrow we can have a double joy: to beat Madrid and reach a final. We are much better than last season.”
Xavi also was asked about Barcelona’s statement on Monday, in which they urged La Liga president Javier Tebas to resign over alleged false claims in the Negreira case.
"I don't know him, we have greeted each other two three times, and I don't have a clear opinion,"
Barcelona is 12 points clear in the La Liga table and recently won El Clasico at home, but Xavi claims Real Madrid is still the favourites to reach the final.
"When we have a two-legged game, I have the feeling that it is very difficult. How long has it been since they lost a two-legged tie?"
"That's why for me they are still the favourites despite the 0-1. They have more pressure than we do.
"Madrid can beat you perfectly. For me it is very even and they have a point that makes them favourites, they are used to coming back from matches."
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