Xavi was in front of the press again on Saturday to preview his team’s next match against Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
The Barcelona boss heads into the match with both Robert Lewandowski and Jordi Alba suspended and after seeing his side taken to extra-time in midweek.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on facing Ceuta in the Copa del Rey
It will be very difficult. One of the most complicated ones. We have to compete. Try to be more effective. Try to be ourselves. Try to enforce our style of play. These last two games, the results haven’t been all that positive, but the performances have been. We want to play our best and go through.
Xavi on killing games off
I think it’s more of a mental thing. Our play has been good, we’ve been dominating, making chances. But that’s when you need to kill off the game. We need to be more effective in the 18-yard box. We are often superior over our rivals but we need to show that and score more goals. We need to try not to make any mistakes and be more imposing when chances come.
Xavi on who will replace Lewandowski
Jordi and Robert are out. We will play with 11 players and a No. 9. We’ll see who it will be. We have different options.
Xavi on Atletico
It’s the next game, it’s three points. If we can win at the Wanda it will be a big statement. It’s a tough stadium. Cholo as a coach is defensively very sound, if not perfect. It will be difficult. We’ll have to be more effective. It’s very important but not decisive for who will win the league.
Xavi on January transfers
I told you I’m happy with the players we have. We spoke with Laporta and Mateu, I’m happy with the players I have. If nothing changes that’s perfect for me. We will compete.
Xavi on Ansu and Ferran
Ferran is perhaps more mobile. Ansu is more positional, associative. They are very similar. They create chances, perhaps the people don’t see or value that but we do. Defensively Ferran is very intense. Ansu in that aspect is different. Both are capable of playing as a 9 as well as Memphis and tomorrow we will decide.
Xavi on if Barca are missing a leader - does Araujo fit the bill?
I think we have leaders. Sometimes you just need to show more personality. Some players express things verbally, others through football. Araujo, Busuqets, Ter Stegen are more verbal. But Pedri, Ansu show their leadership qualities through playing. I think we have leaders within our team. We know who they are. I don’t think that’s a problem.
Xavi on conceding goals through individual errors
Sometimes it’s an individual, sometimes it’s a team error. That’s my fault as well. We try to give them all the confidence in the world they need so they don’t make mistakes. But football is a game of errors, sooner or later we’ll make a mistake or our opponents will. We try to make sure our players are in great shape and don’t make errors, sometimes it’s happens. Intercity made things very difficult for us but I think my team reacted very well.
Xavi on Antoine Griezmann
I don’t know what it was like for him here. I know he’s important for Atletico. We’ve analyzed it, he’s on the ball a lot, creates chances, organises the attack, he’s very important. We are keeping an eye on him. He’s dangerous in the final third for sure.
Xavi on agreement with Uruguay about Araujo
He’s super important for us. He’s an excellent defender, gives us leadership, extra speed, he corrects many mistakes, as we play with a high line. He’s so good in that. Our conversations with Uruguay were very fluid, very clear. We said we would wait and see his sensations. In the end it was Ronald’s decision whether he would play or not. The most important thing is that now he’s 100%.
Xavi on Busquets future
I don’t know. I think it depends on sensations and our ability to sign players and the fair play situation. Sergio is a very important player, he’s the captain. It depends on him. It’s a personal decision. In June we will have another conversation.
Xavi on Barca lacking aggression?
Against Espanyol we lacked aggression in the final third. Espanyol only had one shot on target so in defense that was not the case. We’ve spoken about being defensively sound against Intercity but we conceded three goals. We need to be more aggressive. We can’t concede six goals. If you look at the last games we played then we are conceding too many goals.
Xavi on playing extra-time in midweek
It doesn’t change much. We had four days to rest, to disconnect.
Xavi on Frenkie replacing Busquets
We’ll see tomorrow. They can also play together. Both players are important for the team. They don’t lose the ball, they give the team more energy. They are smart, have a high IQ, we’ll see tomorrow.
Xavi on more minutes for Pablo Torre
For sure yeah. I’ve probably been not very fair to many players. I try to be fair and give them minutes but it’s difficult. It’s normal that some players feel they are not being fairly treated. Pablo’s been great. He plays well between the lines, set pieces are great, he’ll be important for us. He will go from less to more,
Xavi on Hector Bellerin
I don’t know. It depends in his final six months left on his contract. It’s similar to Busquets. He gives me a lot of confidence, he is a guarantee of sucess at the back. He talks a lot with his team-mates, understands the game, he’s a guarantee.