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Xavi talks Ansu Fati, Frenkie de Jong and January signings ahead of Alaves

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona - Copa Del Rey Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi faced reporters on Saturday to discuss his team’s upcoming trip to Alaves in La Liga.

The game comes after cup defeats to Real Madrid and Athletic and leaves the Catalans in need of a win to get back on track.

Xavi spoke about the game, Ansu Fati’s injury problems, offered the latest on Ousmane Dembele’s situation and the possibility of Barca making further January signings.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Alaves

One coach who can make a different is Mendilibar. He’s a demanding coach with very clear ideas, plays intensely. They have a very direct style of play. He’s a great coach, has already proved that, they are a good team playing at home. We know it’s going to be a difficult. He’s a coach who can get Alaves out of their sticky situation.

Xavi on if he’s still optimistic

I’m still optimistic otherwise I would have gone home already. I’m convinced we are at the beginning of something important. We need to have patience and belief in what we are doing and insist on it and persevere. That’s all we can do. I went through this as a player. In the beginning there were doubts and not much confidence but in the end we go through it. I know there’s a lot of criticism, that comes with this job. We need to reach our objectives and if we don’t we need to work harder.

Xavi on Ansu Fati

Ansu is very affected. It is a relapse. Pruna told me that he was to play for half an hour and the extra time disrupted our plans. We are going to make a specific plan for him. We have had a meeting with the family and on Monday we will have a meeting with Ansu and the club doctors to make a decision. It’s a recurring injury. It’s out of our control. We will now get an exhaustive and specific plan in place to ensure that he never gets injured again.

Xavi on if Ansu Fati should have surgery

I’m not a doctor but I think mentally we need to recover him as quickly as possible. He needs to forget about the injuries and follow a specific plan. Give him a lot of love, support him, because we need him. We lost a fantastic player, able to make the difference, and we are all affected by this. He’s sad, so are we, but he’s the main person affected because he can’t play.

Xavi on defeat to Athletic

We have analyzed the match. We lacked intensity and desire. This is what hurts me the most. We had to match that intensity. We had talked about it. At San Mamés they take advantage of set pieces and against Alaves it will be more of the same. It wasn’t so much at a football level, but more in intensity.

Xavi on Ousmane Dembele

There’s no debate. I’ve been very clear. It depends on him. Ousmane’s situation hasn’t changed. He knows perfectly well what his situation is. He is calm, he is training well and he is part of our training group. There are still days left but there’s no alternative.

Xavi on Frenkie

He’s an important player. He’s coming back from a little injury and the circumstances meant he was on the bench at San Mames. I never doubt his commitment to the team. We played extra-time the other day so we need to adjust minutes accordingly. Some players are 100% available to play. Frenkie is going to be a very important player for us for sure

Xavi on January signings

We are working on getting some signings. I’ve been very clear with Alemany and with the president as to what areas we need to reinforce. But from what we want to what we can get, there’s a stretch. We will see what can be done considering the wage bill. There are still days left.

Xavi on Barca’s veterans

I understand the criticism that is aimed their way. When things aren’t working out, and you’re a veteran player who’s played here a long time then a lot of the criticism is aimed at these types of players. They understand that, they know where they are. They need to be brave, continue to play hard. Their commitment is undoubted and unquestioned. They are from here. Their production will change from time to time. We have alternatives but we haven’t had massive options. We’ve had a lot of players injured and out with Covid.