Barcelona boss Xavi faced reporters for the final time in 2021 to talk about Tuesday’s La Liga clash against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Xavi urged Barcelona to get Gavi’s new contract sorted, offered an update on Sergino Dest and, once again, backed goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Sevilla
Tomorrow is another final for us so we will try to win the match. We know it will be difficult against Sevilla because they are in a good moment, they have a very good team, they have a very important coach and it will be very difficult for us. But we are very excited, enthusiastic to get the three points so we can go into the Christmas break, rest and come back stronger in January.
Xavi on Gavi
We’ll all chip in [for his contract] but he’s a spectacular player, we can’t lose that level of player. We can’t lose Gavi, Nico, Abde, Ansu, Pedri, Araujo, these guys are the present and the future of the club. And Gavi is definitely one of them. I understand, I know the club is working really well to negotiate his contract. He’s fundamental to this team.
Xavi on commitment
As a coach, I’m really happy with the effort and the commitment that these players are putting in. Pique, Busquets, Alba, Frenkie, Ter Stegen. It’s not just a matter of commitment, it’s understanding the way we want to play. The players who are injured, want to play. We have to try and slow them down. We won’t let them. In that respect I’m very happy with the team and the commitment of everyone. The youngsters, Ferran who’s never played in the first team, are making a difference and this is surprising me a lot. What’s surprising is that we are not talking about the commitment of the captains and the older players who are there with us. I have no complaints about them.
Xavi on a month as Barca boss
Yes, things have surprised me, but now it’s my job. I think that on Saturday we already saw a bit of the Barça that we love, until Elche scored we played a very good game. We are growing, in good dynamics, but it takes time and patience, because the base was not what we wanted.
Xavi on Ter Stegen hitting 300 matches vs Sevilla
Marc is fundamental to the team. When I spoke before about the commitment of the players, he’s the same. For us, Ter Stegen is fundamental. His commitment, dedication and professionalism is extraordinary. We won in Villarreal because of a pass from him. On the ball, only Neuer is at his level, there’s no other goalkeeper with that quality. He wants to improve, obviously, there are moments when he makes errors. Can he improve? Yes, he knows that. For us he’s one of the best in the world.
Xavi on Dest
His problem is physical, otherwise we would have used him more. He has had severe low back pain, now his adductors have overloaded. It’s not a mental or football issue, but he is not well, he is not ready to play. It is a physical problem, nothing more.
Xavi on if Sevilla can be champions
Yes of course, if I remember well last year they were there in the last few matches, so there’s no reason why not. If they win tomorrow, they will be just three points off the top, halfway through the season. When you see their squad, how they play, their signings, for me they are an example in every sense. I see them as a candidate to win any competition they enter.
Xavi on Casemiro
It’s not up to me to say it. I’m not going to talk about the referees. It’s difficult being a ref, they have the help of the VAR, but it also makes it difficult. I’m not here to give an opinion on whether it is red or yellow. Referees have their job, it is very difficult, you have to help them.
Xavi on the youngsters
Honestly I’m very happy with the work that Sergi is doing with the reserves. All the players, well the majority, are ready. The first evidence we have is with Ferran. He came here, went out for the first time, played well. It’s something fundamental about the game and it’s something he’s got. It’s great coaches have explained that to him. We’re really happy with Sergi Barjuan.
Xavi on Nico
He’s able to adapt perfectly well. In fact he’s played most of his youth career as a No. 6 like Busquets. He’s physical, finds spaces, he’s a very complete player, a very modern player in that sense. He has everything you need, he’s physical, technical, mental, he has a winning mindset. I’m very happy with his performances and I think he can adapt to various positions.
Xavi on having to limit number of Barca B players
Carlos Naval told me that if you play with four from Barca B and one of the seniors is sent off you lose the points. It’s a rule that’s a bit stupid to be honest. Maybe in January we will promote some officially to the first team. The rules are really clear and we can’t run that risk.