Xavi refutes Barcelona failure tag after Milan loss

The Spain midfielder has accepted that the Blaugrana were below-par in their 2-0 defeat on Wednesday, but is refusing to overreact to a possible exit from the competition

Xavi wants to help make history with a dramatic comeback in their Champions League second leg with AC Milan, but has refuted that Barcelona’s season would be a failure if they were unable to turn over the deficit.

Goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari ensured that the Blaugrana lost the first leg 2-0 on Wednesday night at San Siro.

Xavi praised Milan’s terrific defending throughout the tie, but is ruing momentary lapses in their own backline which allowed the Rossoneri to win the clash.

He told AS on Thursday: "It was a long journey back for the players and coaching staff. The first goal was a calamity, we just weren't paying attention. We made two errors in defence and because of that we have to try and overturn the result.

"We just couldn't get into the game, they were spectacular in defence but we didn't create any danger.

"The result is very, very bad for us, but this club has never pulled off a historical comeback and we'd love to be the team that does it. We went out to Inter [in 2010] and we owe the fans something. We needed to compete better in the second half."

Barcelona have dominated La Liga this season and appear certain to be crowned champions with around three months to go, but elimination from the Champions League at the last 16 stage could be seen by some fans as a failure, though Xavi disputes such a notion.

"I don't like the word failure at all," he said, defensively. "It wouldn't be a failure; if you try you are never a failure. It would be disappointing, yes, but failure is not the right word."

"A 2-0 defeat is one of the worst results you can return home with, but we will give it a try. Yesterday we really struggled. We'll have to open up the pitch and create space and take shots from outside the area and be careful of the counterattack.

"Milan played the perfect match. We weren't at the races and they worked very well. This is what European football is like. We're going to try and turn it around at home whilst knowing it'll be very difficult."

After a Liga clash with Sevilla on Saturday, the Catalans will play the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final against Real Madrid, which could go either way with the first leg having finished 1-1.

"It's a cup tie that motivates us anyway, even forgetting what happened yesterday," Xavi continued.

"Before that we have a league game [against Sevilla], which is vital. We are all very excited about the prospect of getting to the final. It will be a tense match, but we will be even more motivated to get to the final."

On Thursday, it was revealed that Eric Abidal has been given the green light to play for Barcelona once again after a year-long absence following a liver transplant, with Xavi admitting it was "the best piece of news" the club have had all season.