Barcelona coach Xavi faced the press on Monday to preview his team’s final La Liga game before the World Cup at Osasuna.
The manager offered his thoughts on being drawn against Man Utd, spoke about Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele as well as his World Cup plans.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on the Europa League play-off draw
Once again we face the toughest rival in the draw. Going to Manchester against a really tough rival, with great individual players. Yes it’s the toughest rival once again.
Xavi on Osasuna
Tomorrow we are facing an intense rival, a team that’s having a great season with a fantastic manager, working really well. They are in form, fifth in La Liga, taking many points at home. We know it will be a tough game but we are in good form too and want to take the three points before the break.
Xavi on his first year in charge
I knew the difficulty of the challenge and the situation at the club. I’m calm, we’re doing a good job. The team has grown. Last year it was about saving the season and qualifying for the Champions League and this year the goal is to win titles.
Xavi on if Pique will play
He’s available for tomorrow’s game and tomorrow we will decide.
Xavi on Araujo
We have a good communication with Diego [Alonso] and we will have to decide together. The most important thing is to have our player 100%, to recover well, for Uruguay and for Barcelona.
Xavi on Kounde & Memphis
They are not available. They are not fully fit. Last year Memphis played when he was not 100%, also Kounde has forced this campaign, but they are not ready yet. There is no doubt with them. They have shown me that even with minor discomfort they have wanted to play in recent games.
Xavi on Cristiano Ronaldo
They have really good players. They have a great group. Ten Hag is doing a fantastic job. We will have time to analyse it. Not just Ronaldo, Manchester are a historic club and they also need to win. Two big teams. It’s going to be a massive challenge.
Xavi on Ronaldo’s form
He’s a fantastic player. He’s been one of the best in recent times and of course he can still make a difference.
Xavi on if he’d prefer to beat Mourinho or Ronaldo
I don’t really care. I like to win. I hate to lose. I am at Barcelona and I just want to win and compete well.
Xavi on players not going to the World Cup
They will have some holiday. I think it’s positive for them. And in the last weeks of November, early December we will have a month of pre-season.
Xavi on the World Cup
Of course I’m going to follow the World Cup and try to go there. I feel Qatar is like my home. I think it will be a historic World Cup for the country and the whole of football.Players will arrive at their best moment.
Xavi on a message for Raphinha
That he has my confidence, sometimes things don’t go as you want but you have to keep working hard. We believe in him a lot and for sure goals will arrive.
Xavi on what Dembele can improve
His numbers have improved a lot since we were here. We have given him confidence, he feels an important part of the squad. For us he’s important. He’s scored a lot, he has to be more regular, to stay at this level in every game. He has the talent to be the best in his position.