As was the case in its Spanish Super Cup semifinal encounter with Real Madrid, Barcelona batted in its Copa del Rey round of 16 clash against Athletic Bilbao. In the end, Athletic Bilbao won a 3-2 thriller over the Catalan side in extra time to move on into the quarterfinals of the competition.

While Barca did see the likes of Ferran Torres and Pedri provide for standout showings, defensive miscues and its inability to halt quick transition sequences from the Basque-based side marred its overall outing. Barca also had its fair share of difficulties in creating high-percentage goal-scoring chances when Athletic Bilbao sat back in a low block.

In his post-match press conference, Barca manager Xavi Hernandez touched on just where it went wrong for the Catalan powerhouse, where he also noted that the club now has to shift gears to the remaining two competitions that it is still alive in.

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“We were beaten by intensity, we have to win the duels, the second plays,” Xavi said. “Athletic was excellent, well organized. I think Athletic played a great match. It was difficult for us to make progress. We tried. They defended with great intensity. They were superior in the duels. I saw a very strong Athletic. We fought until the end.

“These have been hard days, but there is nothing left to do but work and believe in the project. We have to recover from the defeat in the Super Cup and this one. But we have to think about La Liga and the Europa League.”

Xavi also added that the likes of Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique came away from the fixture with some discomfort. More so, Pedri was subbed off over the late stages of the fixture, although Xavi noted that he believes that the Spanish international is not dealing with any notable injury.

As Xavi touched on, Barcelona will now only feature in the La Liga and Europa League competitions this season. The Catalan side will return to La Liga action in the upcoming away fixture against Deportivo Alaves and will face Napoli in the opening round of the Europa League knockout stage next month.