Barcelona club president Joan Laporta insists he has always backed head coach Xavi despite their failings in the Champions League.
The Blaugrana spent big in the summer transfer window despite their well-documented financial problems and were expected to be one of the main contenders to conquer Europe.
But for a second season running, Xavi was unable to guide Barcelona out of the group stage and they will return to the Europa League post-Christmas, drawing Manchester United in the play-off round.
Once Barça’s elimination from the Champions League was confirmed, there were calls for Xavi to leave his post, but Laporta says his job has never been under threat.
“Not at any point in time [has Xavi’s job been under threat]. We have complete confidence in Xavi as a coach,” Laporta said in an interview with Sport.
“And I can assure you that we are very proud of the coach we have. He is a coach who knows the club very well, who knows the moment at which he has arrived. In addition, he knows how to communicate with the different members of the club about everything that can be improved.”
While Barcelona have struggled in Europe, they head into the World Cup break as La Liga leaders following Real Madrid’s dip in form in recent weeks, and Laporta pointed to this as a reason to be proud this season.
“The club is permanently active, it is very dynamic, and being a multi-sport club, there is always competition and we have to be always on alert. But, certainly, this Christmas we will be able to celebrate it as leaders of the league and that is very important for the tranquillity of all, so that the team takes confidence and believes in itself, which is very important,” he added.
“In Pamplona [in the comeback win vs Osasuna], they showed the mettle of champions, that they have the character to overcome adversity and that they want to win this league.”