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Xavi talks Lewandowski, Araujo and Dembele ahead of Espanyol clash

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v UD Almeria - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi was back in front of the press on Friday to preview his team’s match against Espanyol this weekend.

The boss spoke about a host of his players, referee Mateu Lahoz and revealed the club’s fourth captain following Gerard Pique’s retirement.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Espanyol

We are really motivated after one month without competition. We are top of the league and we are really excited to win the championship. We have all our players available, Lewandowski can also play, Araujo is also in the squad list, so now it’s my moment to select the line-up. This week the team has worked really well but we are facing a tough rival.

Xavi on Lewandowski

We were finishing the training session. We had been trying different options this week, taking into account Robert wasn’t available. But in the end, fantastic news, that we can have Robert. It’s not the best situation to know the day before. He’s happy, he’s surprised, but I have said it plenty of times it was an unfair suspension.

Xavi on Lewandowski’s ban

They told us that in 2-3 days the referees’ committte can also react to the suspension. We don’t really know when we will have Robert available or not. The game was played in November so we should know. We have been training in a different way. I’m happy to have him in the squad but the organisation hasn’t been good. We know tomorrow he can play but we don’t really know after that.

Xavi on Dembele and Kounde

They are in the squad. We still have to see which players can play or not. We have 24 players in the squad. Now we must decide who plays. Some players have trained more. We will have to manage this situation.

Xavi on Busquets

He has a contract until the end of the season and he will stay for sure until then. Then we will have to see how things go. This is a personal decision for Busquets. He still has an important role. For me he is a key player and we will have to see how the season goes. But it’s a personal decision for him. We will try to convince him to continue.

Xavi on transfers

I am very happy with my squad. I expect a calm winter transfer market. We will compete well. We have a good squad. We want to fight for the four trophies remaining. I want all my players to stay and I don’t think we need signings to achieve our objectives.

Xavi on Dembele

He’s happy. Since the first day he came back, he’s happy. He has been at the final of the World Cup, starting all the games, runner-up of the World Cup. In another sport it’s a silver medal. Happy with his World Cup. He’s worked really well for the team. He’s playing at a really high level and he’s going to continue being a key player for us.

Xavi on Araujo

Some trainers were there with him with Uruguay. I was also in contact with Diego [Alonso]. The most important things are feelings from players. This week he wants to train, he always wants to play. We will go step by step. I don’t think he will start tomorrow. But let’s see if he can play some minutes or if not in the following game.

Xavi on Eric Garcia picking up an injury?

Yep we still have to see what happens with Eric but I don’t think it’s anything important so we can count on him.

Xavi on Lamine Yamal

We follow all the youth teams, especially the ones close to the first team. Lamine is a big talent. We have a project for him. He has great skills, he has a fantastic natural talent and we hope he stays here for many more years. It will depend on him but he has talent and in the future we can have a fantastic player.

Xavi on Pele

I want to send my condolences to his family in Brazil. All the world wanted to be Pele, like Maradona and Messi. They are legends. We were together many times. Always had massive respect for him.

Xavi on Espanyol being upset at Lewandowski being available

Yes it was an important absence. We are happy but we don’t really know when the suspension will end. It’s interrupted and we have to wait to see how things end. Let’s see if they reduce the ban.

Xavi on Mateu Lahoz

I like Mateu because he talks, communicates, explains why he whistles. I think that’s positive. He can make mistakes. I’m the ref in training and it’s difficult. Mateu gives his arguments and I like him a lot.

Xavi on fourth captain

This week we decided that the fourth captain will be Marc ter Stegen.

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