The Arsenal midfielder says the pain of the Europa League final loss to Chelsea will not hamper him as his national side prepare to face Portugal
Granit Xhaka is trying to put the humbling his Arsenal side took in the Europa League final behind him as he looks to help Switzerland reach the first ever UEFA Nations League final with a win over Portugal on Wednesday.
The midfielder was in the starting side for the Gunners in Baku as the took a 4-1 loss at the hands of London rivals Chelsea, costing them not only the Europa League crown but a spot in the Champions League next season.
It was a big blow to Arsenal, who finished just one point back of Tottenham in the race for the Premier League top four.
But Xhaka has quickly turned his attention to the job at hand in hopes of picking up a trophy for his nation.
“It was disappointing to lose the final, we wanted to win the title and move up to the Champions League, but it didn’t work out,” he told reporters.
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“However, since arriving here in Portugal I have focused fully on the national team. What happened, happened. We look forward now and I hope to win a title with Switzerland.”
The final in Baku saw Chelsea’s Eden Hazard put in a star showing with two goals, and to reach the Nations League final Xhaka will have to face down another world superstar in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Juventus is daunting task for any team, but Xhaka says his side are up for the challenge of taking on the best in the world.
“I think we saw his [Hazard’s] qualities not only in this game but others as well,” he said. “He is one of the best in the world and tomorrow we will see another [Ronaldo] who certainly has his qualities as well.
“We are here to play the best and we look forward, not only to meeting Ronaldo, but to playing tomorrow.”
The last time the Swiss traveled to Portugal was for a World Cup qualifier in 2017, and Xhaka admits his side will have to be at their best to come away with a win.
“We will see tomorrow, the Portuguese team is of course a very strong team, we know them,” Xhaka added.
“It is a team that plays compact and has excellent individual players and I think we have shown two different games against them.
“When we are fresh at home we can beat them but the second leg we were scared, we have to focus on our strengths.”