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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 5, 2009

Xavi frustrated by Almeria's stifling tactics

Barcelona midfielder Xavi admits his side may have to get used to the ultra-defensive tactics used by Almeria against future opponents.

Almeria coach Hugo Sanchez opted for caution in a bid to make life difficult for all-conquering Barcelona, and although it failed to stop the home side recording a 1-0 win, it left Xavi, who was man-marked throughout, frustrated.

"We will have to get used to it. It's a shame that they come here to pack the defence,'' said Xavi, who was shadowed by Jose Chico throughout the match. "I've never been marked like that. It was madness, obsessive.

"Even when they had the ball or when I was going to take a corner they marked me. (Coach) Pep (Guardiola) told me to use the wings to create space so that Busi (Sergio Busquets) and (Lionel) Messi could get the upper hand in the middle.

"I practically had to leave the game. It was very boring for me.''

Barca striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits Almeria's tactics made it tough for them, but insists picking up the three points was the main thing as the Catalan giants equalled their best-ever start to a league season with a sixth successive win.

"It's difficult to play against five defenders. We didn't play well but we've won. This is also important,'' said Ibrahimovic, who was unable to add to his tally this season but did play a role in the build-up to Pedro's brilliant winning goal.

"I've not scored, but I've made another. This is important. Pedro's goal was very nice. I'm very happy because we won a very difficult game, six games and six victories.''

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