Xavi Hernandez says Barcelona have lost their identity during the six years they have been away from the club after leaving his side too late to beat Elche 3-2 on Saturday.
Nico Gonzalez scored the winning goal in the 85th minute as Barcelona recovered from wasting a two-goal lead at the Camp Nou to end a three-game streak without a win.
Xavi left Barcelona as a player in 2015 after winning the treble under Luis Enrique and admits he has been surprised by what he has faced since returning as coach last month.
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“We lost [Barcelona’s] Xavi said in a press conference after the match.
“I haven’t been here in six years and there are things that have surprised me tactically. I haven’t been here so I don’t know who is responsible for that, but it makes [the job] It’s hard for us.
“the vast majority [of players] I don’t understand positional play. There are mechanics that I have understood since the age of 11 and we have players here who have not worked on it.”
The victory over Elche lifted Barcelona to seventh place in the League, after the disappointment of entering the European League last week and a draw with Osasuna.
To turn things around, Xavi turned to the youth, the players are still technically registered with Team B and scored all three goals against Elche.
Ferran Gutgla, 22, made his debut for the club with Jaffe, 17, scoring the second and then setting up the winning goal for Niko, 19.
“You can only take your hat off to this performance from Gavi,” Xavi added. “His gameplay is amazing. Together with Nico, Eternal [Ezzalzouli]And [Ronald] Argo, [Alejandro] Baldi… they are the future of the club.
“I played here when I was 18 and I was freaked out. These guys are exploding with their personality. I’m so happy for this generation, Gavi is especially sexy.
“The most surprising thing about Gavi is his age, he is 17. Look at how he competes. Today he made the difference with a goal and an assist. I don’t want to compare him to anyone, just make sure he doesn’t hit the brakes because he doesn’t have a roof.”
Xavi said Barcelona’s emerging generation of talent could prove “better” than the generation he came in and played for under Pep Guardiola a decade ago.
“We are talking about seven players of very good quality who can make the difference,” he said. “When I say they make the difference, it’s not a message for the veterans, but the kids score and make goals.”
Gutgla and Gavi’s efforts were canceled with two goals in two minutes in the second half from Elche substitutes Titi Moriente and Per Milla to evoke memories of Barcelona’s collapse against Celta Vigo, when he gave up a three-goal lead to draw 3-3.
But substitute Nico’s second goal in as many matches earned Barcelona the three points, and Xavi will hope it will be a turning point ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Seville.
“Hopefully this will be an inflection point,” the coach said. “We made things difficult for ourselves. Elche survived our mistakes and that could not be the case. We have to learn and be more responsible.
“I was a bit angry [after they equalised] Because I couldn’t imagine not winning the match. We deserved so much more, but in the situation we are in, that’s three golden points.”