Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez couldn’t help but rave about Fermin Lopez after an MVP performance from the youngster against Shakhtar.
Lopez was in from the start and produced a superb display, setting up the first goal for Ferran Torres and smashing home a brilliant second.
Xavi made it clear he thinks Lopez will be a big player for Barcelona for a long time to come.
“I’m thrilled with him in general. He’s a valuable guy to us,” he said.
“He’ll be in this Barcelona team for years, and I don’t say that lightly. He’s mentally prepared, he’s having a good season, he’s got a terrific shot from distance. I’m happy with him and happy for him.
“It’s fundamental that Fermín has a spectacular mentality. He’s always listening, always thinking and I really like his mentality – when you tell him things, they go in and he applies them.”
Xavi also revealed a little tactical twitch he’d passed on to Fermin during the match which had helped his team go ahead.
“I spoke to Fermín just before we scored our goals, and I told him that it was fundamental to make moves from the ‘second line’ and, once he’d dropped deeper to get possession, then to attack their goal,” he added.
“I told him that Shakhtar’s full-back was very preoccupied by keeping a close watch on Lamine, and that this was giving him space and opportunities he had to take advantage of.”
Barcelona’s win means the Catalans have a 100% recent in the Champions League group stages and are in good shape to top the group.