Barcelona coach Xavi has faced reporters ahead of the first leg of his team’s Europa League quarter-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The boss spoke about Ronald Araujo, Ousmane Dembele and Adama Traore as well as offering his thoughts on tomorrow’s match.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Frankfurt
This is a new stadium for us, a new city, I haven’t been here with Barca before. The stadium is very good, there will be a great atmosphere tomorrow, it’s a pleasure to be here. We will try to play as we always do, take control of the ball, press high, show our good dynamic. Eintracht are a good team, they are a little bit unknown in Spain. They are well organised, physically they are very strong, and they are good in transition, make chances. It’s a knockout tie, it will be difficult for us.
Xavi on who will play right-back
We have Ronald, Oscar, Dest is injured, Dani is not registered, that’s a shame. We have various options. It could even be Eric but Ronald as we’ve seen time and again is at a very high level with the ball, we all know he can win the ball, he can create danger, he’s very fast, explosive, with the ball he can create problems. He’s getting better and better and plays really well wherever I put him.
Xavi on Araujo
He’s a player who can play for Barca for 10 years or more. There are very few center-backs that are so good. He’s good with the ball as well which is what we demand from him. He’s happy to stay here in Barcelona with his family. He’s a very humble guy, very clear, he’s an example to the team and it’s a joy to have players like Araujo and I’m very, very happy. Especially as a person, he’s well-loved in the dressing room, works hard, makes sacrifices, but at the end of the day the decision is his. He can be proud to dedicate himself to Barca and that’s progress and for me, that’s the right decision.
Xavi on Dembele
I said many times the club is working not just on the present but for the future. For me Ousmane is a very important player. I hope he stays. These are players who are very important to me and to Barca. Gavi, Araujo, Dembele. If we can have them next year we will be a better team and a better squad without doubt.
Xavi on if Barca might be too relaxed
It would be a serious mistake to relax. Today everyone is working and the attitude should never be lost because then they run over you. There will be no relaxation. If they beat us we will congratulate them and that’s it.
Xavi on other favorites for the Europa League
There are different teams, Leipzig, Lyon, Eintracht. We can’t think beyond tomorrow. We have to play a good game, try to win here. I repeat that we were unlucky in the draw because we had a very tough opponent. They will make it very difficult for us.
Xavi on Dembele training on his day off
He’s an example in the ways he trains, the way he plays, his attitude, his commitment. I don’t know how he was before but I have no complaints. I see him very happy, very motivated with his winning attitude. He’s happy and comfortable here, so it’s not a surprise he came on his day off. He’s a great professional and I said that when he wasn’t playing as well.
Xavi on how long they can wait for a decision from Dembele
It’s a negotiation. Also with Ronald which is still not completed, it’s more or less done, Gavi, Ousmane, Sergi Roberto as well. There are various players, it’s a negotiation. The club know my priorities and we are working on that. For me I hope Ousmane stays. I think he’s having a good time here and he can be decisive. He can be one of the best in the world in his position and I’m not afraid of repeating that.
Xavi on Ferran Torres saying he’d kidnap Dembele to keep him at Barca
I don’t know what to say about Ousmane. I hope he stays. For me, he’d already be signed but it’s to do with the club. We’ve not got the best financial situation in history that’s the way it is. We have to tighten the belt a bit, make the numbers work, everyone is working 24 hours a day. For me Ousmane is a key player.
Xavi on Adama Traore
He will be important, we have games tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, we need to rotate. It depends on everyone’s physical feeling, their form, knocks, feelings. Adama will be very important.