‘We’re giving too much away’ says Xavi after Barca draw at Rayo

Spanish champions Barcelona slipped up in a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday in La Liga, continuing a worrying run of underwhelming performances.

Surprise leaders Girona and rivals Real Madrid in second now have the chance to extend their lead on the third-place Catalans over the next two days.

Unai Lopez drove Rayo ahead from long range in the first half but Barca levelled through Florian Lejeune’s own goal in the 82nd minute.

The draw adds to the doubts around Barcelona, who have not been at their best for several weeks and face Porto on Tuesday seeking Champions League knock-out round qualification.

“I think it was a game of two halves, in the first we dominated but we weren’t aggressive enough to cause damage,” Xavi told DAZN.

“In the second we were, we scored a goal and could have had others … we need to win these games if we want to win the league.

“We have to be self-critical, it’s costing us too much this season giving things away … in modern football a lot changes when they score against you.”

Inaki Pena started in goal for Barca with Marc-Andre ter Stegen out with a back problem, while Xavi turned to the fit-again Frenkie de Jong to replace the injured Gavi in midfield.

The 19-year-old’s cruciate ligament tear will keep him out for the season, with Barcelona losing a player the coach has described as the “soul” of the team.

Barcelona players wore shirts before kick off with his name on the back, and a message saying “we are with you, Gavi”.