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Barcelona looking for ‘patience’ despite spending spree

MADRID (AFP) – Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez called for “patience” after his side’s draw with Rayo Vallecano in their season opener, but will know the team are expected to challenge for the La Liga title this season after a raft of high-profile signings.

Barca struggled in front of goal in the disappointing stalemate at the Camp Nou last weekend and face a tricky trip to Real Sociedad tomorrow.

Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Andreas Christensen all made their debuts from the start against Rayo and Franck Kessie made his first competitive appearance for the club as a substitute.

Barcelona, who have struggled financially in the last two years, are also waiting to be able to register France defender Jules Kounde after his arrival from Sevilla.

But Xavi has called for calm from supporters as he looks to bed in the new players.

“I understand the disappointment, the expectations are really high,” Xavi said after the Rayo game.

Barcelona’s players warm up before a match. PHOTO: AFP

“We will have to analyse the game, improve and continue to believe in the style of play.

“Rayo defended well. It was harder for us to create than usual.

“It’s a shame because we wanted to show the fans that we are on the right track. It is disappointing, but we ask for patience and for people to believe in this team.”

Xavi helped turn the Catalan giants’ fortunes around last season, leading them to a second-placed finish after taking over with their top-four hopes in doubt.

Barca still ended 13 points adrift of champions Real Madrid, who started their title defence with a come-from-behind victory at Almeria.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League winners play their second straight away game, taking on Celta Vigo today.