Xavi proud of 10-man Barcelona for overcoming 'unfair' decisions in dramatic Osasuna win

Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi said he was proud of his team for overcoming several "unfair" decisions after they recovered from Robert Lewandowski's red card to clinch a dramatic 2-1 win at Osasuna.

Things looked bleak for Barca when they went into half-time a goal and a man down at El Sadar, with David Garcia heading Osasuna into the lead amid a potential foul on Marcos Alonso, before Lewandowski picked up a second booking for a poor challenge on the goalscorer.

Things went from bad to worse at the break as Gerard Pique – who was named on the bench for his final match before retirement – received a red card for dissent without even entering the fray.

However, goals from Pedri and Raphinha saw Barca stage a stirring second-half comeback to go five points clear of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga, leaving Xavi ecstatic.

Asked what he told his players at the break to spark the turnaround, Xavi said: "To have faith that with 10 we could dominate the match, we had to be intelligent, and our moments would come.

"It's a very good victory, one of courage, of family, and it was celebrated a lot in the locker room. It was very complicated to play with 10 and I am very proud of the team.

"We have grown. We are a family, a group, a spectacular dressing room, with the desire to win, and it shows. I am proud."

Reflecting on the display of referee Jesus Gil Manzano, Xavi said his team had been hampered by numerous poor decisions.

"We feel harmed," he said. "The first goal was not even a corner, then there was a foul and then Robert was expelled. They were very unfair decisions, but the referee decides and we can't do anything."

Raphinha's winner – a well-executed header from Frenkie de Jong's lofted pass – was the eighth goal scored by a Barcelona substitute in LaLiga this term, more than any other team.

Meanwhile, the Blaugrana's tally of 37 points after 14 games is their joint-third highest at this stage of a season in LaLiga (after claiming 40 points in 2012-13 and 2013-14), and Raphinha believes they have the fight required for a title race.

"I had to think fast," the Brazil winger said of his goal. "The goalkeeper thought I was going to control the ball and that's why he came towards me, but I knew he was going to do that.

"We knew it was going to be very difficult, and it was. It was complicated by the expulsion of Lewandowski and from then on, we knew we would have few chances to get the result.

"The game was very difficult, but if we want to win LaLiga, we have to win these games and, like today, we also have to know how to suffer."