EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Xavi Talks Ahead of Matchday

Julian Araujo

The reigning champions moved to the top of the standings after the 3-2 win over Celta Vigo, with Real Madrid’s derby defeat to Atletico meaning that Xavi Hernandez’s side now have a one-point lead.

Xavi Gives an Update on FDJ

Providing an update on the Netherlands international’s situation, Xavi said: “Frenkie is a sensitive and very important loss for us because of the way we play and the way he has been playing since last season, at an exceptional level. “There are many players to replace him and we hope we will not be affected by his absence. We will see how he is after the break. We hope he makes a good recovery and recovers one hundred percent”.

Midfield Replacements

The manager insisted that he has plenty of options in midfield. He highlighted the names of Sergi Roberto and Fermin Lopez as alternatives. “We have alternatives and one of them is Sergi Roberto. In the absence of Pedri and De Jong, Gavi will gain more prominence in the team. Xavi highlighted the 19-year-old’s qualities, saying: “We know what Gavi is capable of.

Ahead of Match Against Mallorca

That’s how we have done well,” he said. “The fact that we are at the top means we are doing things well. On the prospect of facing a team like Mallorca, Xavi highlighted the opposition’s defensive prowess and physicality. He said : “We know that Mallorca is a difficult team. They have a lot of defensive strengths, they are solid and unselfish in their work. “They are a physically strong team, who play direct and with players like Muriqi or Abdon Prats who play well in space, as well as full-backs who get forward well, or players of a high level like Darder, a difficult game”.

Xavi Talks on Versatility in the Team

Xavi also pointed out the importance that Ilkay Gundogan brings to the team with his qualities and versatility, saying: “Gundogan can play at the base, like Oriol Romeu or Busquets before him, but we believe that his potential is to get into the box and provide assists, that’s what we want from him, and even more so now that we do not have Pedri, he’s a very similar player”. The Barcelona boss also pointed at the versatility that runs in the squad, saying: “We have a squad that is not very big but with many players who can occupy many positions.”Sergi Roberto, Cancelo, Ferran, Rafa, Joao Felix, Ronald Araujo…versatile players who are very good for the team”.

Bench Strength and Firepower

With great bench strength comes question marks over the roles of some players and Xavi was asked about the role and the part that Raphinha has in his plans.”Raphinha came on very well, he reminded me of Ferran when he was not involved so much. He can play in the box as an inside player or as a wide midfielder,” Xavi said.”He has not played so much because he was sent off or was sent off the day of Getafe, from then on he will come in and he will be important, I have no doubt”. One is the goalkeeper who we believe is not fatigued and can play all the games.

Win-Win Situation

On the Madrid derby The Barcelona manager also spoke about the derby between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, the result of which proved to be quite favorable for the club. “I saw it, it was a great game, especially from Atletico, with intensity and generosity in the work. It’s a very favorable result for Atletico, a very important win,” he said. “I do not want to get involved in anything about Madrid or Ancelotti, whether he made a mistake or not”. “I always see Madrid as strong and like all teams they have strengths and weaknesses.

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