Xavi: Attack best form of defence

Barcelona’s Xavi insists his side will stay true to their attacking style when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.The Catalans head into the semi-final second-leg clash with a 2-0 lead courtesy of a brace from the inspirational Lionel Messi, but Xavi said as far as his side is concerned, the best form of defence will always be attack.

“They will need to go out and look for the game more,” the Spanish playmaker said.

“They’ve lived on a counter-attacking game and been ultra defensive, but we have to be prepared for them to play higher up the pitch tomorrow.”

“Whatever happens though, Barca will stay true to their own way of playing. Our game won’t change at all.”

“We always attack and never try and sit back and defend a lead – we don’t know any other way to play and our fans would never let us.”

Xavi said he was disappointed about the furore surrounding the first-leg meeting between the two sides, which resulted in Real defender Pepe being dismissed and their manager Jose Mourinho being sent to the stands for his protests.

Barcelona substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto was also shown red for his involvement in a half-time fracas, but Xavi insists these incidents are water under the bridge and his sights are set firmly on Tuesday’s match.

“I’m not one to judge the behaviour of the Real Madrid manager,” Xavi said. “We try to talk about football, and it feels as if it isn’t talked about much.”

“There is a bit about Madrid’s strategy and Barcelona’s strategy, but we focus on things that don’t have any importance in football.”

“It makes me a little sad to talk about things that are outside of the game of football that we love so much. We try to do our best on the pitch and respect our opponents, and then play our game.”

“Madrid have their weapons and their manager, who is a controversial figure – not just now, but always.”

“We try to stay away from this. We would prefer that we all talk a bit more about football and not outside factors that reflect badly on the sport.”