Newly appointed Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez believes the 3-1 win over Villarreal on Saturday will give his players a critical morale boost but acknowledged the performance was not entirely convincing.
The former Barca midfielder oversaw a 1-0 win over Espanyol last weekend after taking over the reins from Ronald Koeman, but it looked like he would be denied another victory on Saturday when Samuel Chukwueze canceled out Frenkie de Jong's opener.
Memphis Depay came to Barca's rescue, though, with a vital goal in the 88th minute, before Philippe Coutinho added a third from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
Not only was it Barca's first away win in La Liga this season, but it was also the first time they have won back-to-back games in the competition this term.
The win over Espanyol was followed by a 0-0 draw with Benfica in the Champions League in midweek, and Xavi says the victory at La Ceramica was comfortably the worst his side has played across his first three games in charge.
"It was very even, Villarreal is a great team," he told a media conference. "Of the three games that I have played, it is the one that we have dominated the least and the one that we least deserved to win.
"Today could have ended up as a draw and instead we are leaving with a victory. That is tremendous and gives us a lot of morale.
"It is a spectacular victory that gives us a lot of morale to continue growing. This victory gives us life.
"That game was the minimum required. Belief, attitude, respect for the badge, and hard work; they are the foundations of a team. Today was a victory of team spirit. When we do not play well, we also have to win. We are Barca."
On the field, late goals from Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho secured the victory.
The score at La Ceramica flattered Barca, who could easily have lost a frantic game in which Villarreal spurned a number of excellent chances, only to commit a dreadful mistake at the back that allowed Depay to score in the 88th minute.
Coutinho added a third from the penalty spot in injury-time.
Barcelona cut the gap to Atletico Madrid in fourth to three points, before Atletico play at Cadiz on Sunday. They are still seven points behind leaders Real Madrid, who are at home on Sunday to third-placed Sevilla.
One blot on the evening was an injury to Jordi Alba, who had to be replaced in the second half, with his fitness now a concern less than two weeks before Barca's pivotal final Champions League group game at Bayern Munich.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.