Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said on Monday that his time with the team as a player helped set a high bar that the club is now striving to reach in the Champions League.
The Catalan giants won four editions of the competition between 2006 and 2015, and have since suffered some humiliating eliminations.
Barcelona blew its lead against Roma and Liverpool and was beaten by Bayern Munich in recent years, although it has failed to advance beyond the group stage in the last two seasons.
“There is a great demand on us, the bar is very high, this is Barça,” Xavi said at a press conference.
“This is a consequence of Barça in recent years, of our era, as a player. In 10 years, from 2006 to 2015, they won four Champions Leagues.”
The coach said the club’s goal was to get through the group stage, ahead of the competition’s first match against Belgian champions Royal Antwerp on Tuesday.
“We like challenges, but the level of demand is so high that it is brutal,” he continued.
“It is the consequence of inheriting a brilliant era, the best in the history of this club.”
However, Xavi said his players were coping well and were excited to start their new European campaign.
“Looking at the players’ faces, I see joy, I see hope,” added Xavi. “A lot of hope and desire.”
Barcelona spent little during the summer because they are still going through financial difficulties, but they were able to sign Joao Félix and Joao Cancelo on loan.
They also replaced Sergio Busquets with former Barça youth team product Oriol Romeu, signed from Girona.
The midfielder, 31, said he did not imagine he would return to this level after leaving Barcelona in 2011 for Chelsea and then joining Southampton in 2015.
“I would be lying to you if I said that when you go to Southampton you think you will (one day) play a key role at Barcelona, it’s hard to imagine,” Romeu said.
“Football has many comings and goings. I am happy and hoping to do a good job.”
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