Goals by Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez brought Villarreal, who are in seventh place, their first victory in La Liga at the Camp Nou since 2008 and ended Barcelona’s season without trophies, finishing 13 points behind Real Madrid, who won the title.
The fact that Barça have even finished second gave some reason to be happy given their start to the season, after winning just four of the league’s first 13 games and finishing ninth in November when Xavi took over from Ronald Cumann.
The 42-year-old footballer believes that among the waiting fans the time to get to work and turn the team to his liking, has officially come, and now “Barca” is nearing the end of the season.
“I keep the minutes people welcomed,” Xavi said after the game. “It’s okay, the public doesn’t like to lose. But in summing up, we have to be happy. We have to be humble and see the reality. Now the office is starting to work.”
“We need to change things. We need to choose titles. We need to change things. We need to improve and strengthen ourselves.”
After ruling al-Saddam for only two years before taking up a coaching position at his former club, Xavi experienced a baptism of fire on his return to Europe, and crises engulfed his children’s club both on and off the field.
Blagran experienced positive and difficult moments in his first coaching role in Europe, defeating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, but also humbly falling in the Europa League at the hands of the final winners of Eintracht Frankfurt.
On a personal level Xavi is in a sense happy to have helped Barcelona qualify for the Champions League and save the season, but he is adamant that his team needs to improve.
“I knew it was coming at a difficult and difficult time,” he said. “We have improved, but not enough. We have played brilliant games, but we need to be more reliable. I am here to add value, now we need to work for next year. We need to be positive.
“We have saved a season that could have been catastrophic. I am satisfied personally. We have come from one of the worst moments in the history of the club. A lot needs to change.
“This season has passed as it has. The coach has changed. And now we can’t be second. We have to strengthen very well. We have to compete. We have to change a lot.”