Barcelona coach Xavi has faced the press ahead of tomorrow’s Spanish Super Cup clash with Real Betis in Saudi Arabia.
The boss spoke about the possibility of winning his first title, offered an update on Memphis Depay and also spoke about Raphinha and Sergio Busquets.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Memphis
I wasn’t in that meeting so I don’t know anything. I told Mateu that if the squad stays the same as it is I would be very happy. There’s nothing new I know of at least. We haven’t spoken about this. If there’s anything new we will talk about it but I’m happy with the squad.
Xavi on Real Betis
They are a rival that like to have the ball. Pellegrini is an offensive-minded coach. He likes technically-gifted players. Canales, Fekir, Iglesias, they are all quality players. They play with a high line, they press, it will be difficult for us to dispossess them. We have a lot of work to do. They will want the ball for as long as possible.
Xavi on the importance of winning the Super Cup
It’s important for us. It’s a title. In this new format we haven’t managed to win it. We are in a good moment. We are calm. We will try to show our personality. It’s a title so we will try and win it. We want to be better than our opponents. We are very motivated to bring it home and win the first title of the season.
Xavi on Busquets
He’s our captain. He’s vital in the dressing room. He’s an example, his professionalism, sacrifice, commitment, all that is priceless. He brings balance to the team. When Busi is not on the pitch we notice it. He’s pretty much perfect tactically. He changed the position. There’s a before and after since Busi played the game. He’ll be a reference point for other players in that defensive midfield position. They will compare him to Busquets. He’s vital.
Xavi on Ferran Torres ban
We think it’s excessive. There wasn’t any aggression, it was a tangle, it’s excessive. But it won’t condition the starting XI or Memphis.
Xavi on Raphinha
He helps where I need him to. He’s an important player. He has been a starter but more so as a substitute. He’s a guarantee coming off the bench. He’s very motivated, understands the space, works hard, he’s important
Xavi Lewandowski and Ferran being banned
Well now I don’t have that problem. I have everyone available and that causes me more headaches to be honest. I prefer to have this problem. I’ll make sure the best players play. I’m not worried about it.
Xavi on how Barca has changed
Nowadays we talk a lot about identity and that’s something we never want to lose. We don’t want to lose our style of play. We saw that Atleti presses us high and dominated and so we have to come up with solutions. It’s not what we want, we want to score and go for the second, to be on top. All the teams press, they make you man to man. It’s difficult to dominate the 90 minutes.
Xavi on Barca’s defense
They are all important. The defensive line for us is key. Conceding just six goals in the league is excellent for us, it speaks volumes. Araujo is special, Christensen too, that’s why we signed him. Eric as well, Marcos, Jordi, Balde, Bellerin, Sergi - all these players give us a lot. Jules is a spectacle defensively. We are at an excellent defensive level.