Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has faced the press ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
The hosts have won both group games so far and will be aiming to make it nine points out of nine at Montjuic.
However, Xavi will still be without a host of players, and Gavi who is suspended, and has spoken about what he’s expecting from the game.
Here are the best bits from his press conference:
Xavi on Shakhtar
For us this is a vital match, for the possible qualification for the round of 16. The three points are key to getting through the group. They are a physical rival, well equipped technically. They can put us in trouble and if we think it will be easy we could lose.
Xavi on his injured players
Those who are injured are not at 100% and that’s why they are not in the squad list. We will see how things come along; I’m optimistic that we may get some back for El Clasico.
Xavi on Pedri
There has been no setback. The sensations are what they are, those set by the player. What we are trying to avoid is a relapse, which is why we are cautious. It is in the ‘timing’ that we believe is appropriate.
Xavi on Ilkay Gundogan
He’s having a very good start to the season, I am very happy with the way he’s adapting. He gives us pause, peace of mind. He understands what we want to do. He’s invaluable, he’s fundamental
Xavi on missing key players
It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. Injuries, Gavi is banned.. we are not here to complain, it will not be an excuse.
Xavi on Gavi
I always said he’s essential. He is giving us a lot with and without the ball. He will be missed, especially against a rival with a high physical and technical level in a Champions League game.
Xavi on if he’ll been experimenting
This is not the time for tests, but rather for being practical and showing our game model, our identity. We are not going to make any important new developments. I am convinced that we will see a good Barca regardless of who plays.
Xavi on El Clasico
I tell the players that it is the Champions League even if there is a Clasico just around the corner. We want nine points from nine. It’s very important to get through.
Xavi on Barca’s young stars
Guiu, Lamine and the others are humble people. It is fundamental in life and in sport. Marc has trained hard, Lamine the same and Fermín and those who come up.
Xavi on having eight players in Spain’s Under 17 World Cup squad
Eight is a lot, a sign that they are doing well. The best Barca teams in history have always had a lot of by La Masia players. Today on our list, including Romeu, there are 12 players from here. They give us a plus, they are committed players.
Xavi on Ferran Torres
He looks more confident than last season. He’s doing the things that I want him to do and he’s doing them right. He’s a great player