Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets admitted the embattled LaLiga giants needed to beat Espanyol after the Xavi era opened with a 1-0 victory in Saturday’s derby.
Xavi’s first match in charge resulted in three points against city rivals Espanyol at Camp Nou, where Memphis Depay’s 48th-minute penalty settled the contest.
Barca have struggled this season, leading to the sacking of Ronald Koeman and prompting the return of club great Xavi, who had been in charge of Qatari outfit Al-Sadd.
Reflecting on the result, which saw Barca move within eight points of top spot before Real Madrid’s fixture at Granada on Sunday, Busquets welcomed the win.
“We needed this victory for the team to continue to grow and regain our confidence. We have a new coach, a new philosophy and we will find a way up,” Busquets said.
“I think generally we played well. I think the scoreline is a bit tight. They had some great chances, any team can cause you problems but we needed the win.”
Barca have not lost any of their last 23 matches against Espanyol in LaLiga (W18 D5), keeping 17 clean sheets in those games, their longest unbeaten streak against the Periquitos in the competition.
At home, Barca have won their last 12 meetings against Espanyol in LaLiga, after winning just one of their previous five (D3 L1), since a 1-2 defeat in February 2009, in a match that featured Gerard Pique, Busquets and Xavi in the Blaugrana side.
“We need to believe, to regain confidence, little by little we will get better, with new ideas, a new philosophy, and we will find a way up,” Busquets added.
“Right now we have a group of youngsters helping us. It’s really important to have this young blood, especially right now because of the financial situation and we can’t make many signings.”
Depay has won three penalties in LaLiga this season, becoming the Barcelona player with the most penalties earned in a single season in the competition since Luis Suarez in 2018-19 (also three). Since 2005-06, only Neymar has won more in the same campaign in LaLiga for Barcelona (eight).
Barca’s Depay has scored in each of his last three games in LaLiga (three goals), his best run in the top five European leagues since March-April 2018 (six games for Lyon – seven goals).