Barcelona’s LaLiga title hopes are salvageable but they can’t afford any more slip-ups after being held away at Valencia last weekend, head coach Xavi Hernández said on Tuesday.

The Spanish champions’ draw at the Mestalla saw them fall nine points behind surprise leaders Girona, while they are seven adrift of second-placed Real Madrid.

“We can still come back in LaLiga but we can’t slip up anymore,” Xavi said ahead of today’s game at home to winless Almería.

“We are paying for too many mistakes and losing too many points. We have to end the year positively and be even better in the second half of the season.

“Girona — who I have already said are a direct rival — and Real Madrid aren’t slipping up, but we just have to go step by step for now.”

Xavi has diagnosed the side’s lack of a clinical edge as the biggest reason they have nine fewer points at this stage of the campaign than they did last year.

The arrival of Brazil striker Vitor Roque from Athletico Paranaense in January could help in that respect, but Xavi warned against expecting too much from the 18-year-old immediately.

“We can’t put pressure on Vitor — or on other young players like Lamine Yamal,” he added.

“Every player has to step forward. What we are doing in the two boxes is making the difference, above all when we are attacking. We are not effective, but we can’t [put that pressure] on Vitor.”

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