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Xavi says Ousmane Dembele was ‘extra motivated’ against Athletic

The Frenchman put in an impressive showing

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - LaLiga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said that Ousmane Dembele was extra motivated against Athletic on Sunday after seeing the Frenchman put in a stellar showing.

Dembele grabbed a goal and three assists against Ernesto Valverde’s side who simply could not contain the forward.

Here’s what Xavi made of it all:

“Dembele was in the spotlight because he takes risks so it’s all or nothing,” he said.

“It had been three games with nothing coming off, but it did today, assists and a goal... he was especially motivated. He is someone who can make the difference and is capable of doing these things.”

Xavi also praised his side for their showing and explained his decision to go with four midfielders against the Basque side.

“We understood the game very well. We expected a game with a lot of intensity played at a high rhythm. We knew they would press high so we put in another midfielder to outnumber them through the middle.,” he added.

“We wanted an extra man in midfield. I think the key, though, was that we matched them in intensity. Dembele was also good, he made the difference. The team understood what was needed. It was practically over by half time.”

Barca have responded well to their Clasico defeat with impressive showings against Villarreal and Athletic and take on Bayern next in the Champions League.

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