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Xavi talks Frenkie de Jong, referees and Marcus Rashford ahead of Manchester United clash

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi has previewed his team’s upcoming Europa League clash with Manchester United at the Camp Nou.

The two teams meet in the first leg on Thursday with a place in the last 16 of the competition up for grabs.

Xavi spoke about Barca’s next opponents, as well as talking about Frenkie de Jong, Marcus Rashford and Ronald Araujo.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Man Utd

Tomorrow is a great match. It’s a spectacular tie. Both teams arrived at the best moment of the season. Ten Hag has changed the face of the team. It’s been hard for them but they’re doing a great job. He is a great coach. I expect a game with a lot of intensity and rhythm. It’s Europe and we want to show that we can compete against a top-level European rival.

Xavi on Marcus Rashford

He’s one of the most dangerous forwards in Europe. He’s fast, he’s one-on-one and we’ll have to watch him a lot. He’s one of the best in Europe, without a doubt. We have assessed what they are doing. The transitions are very quick.

Xavi on if Barca are favorites

A lot will be decided at Old Trafford. I see very close matches. It’s a shame that we won’t play the second leg at home. I don’t think we are favourites. There are very good teams in this competition, it’s a very tough competition.

Xavi on Frenkie de Jong

He was really clear to me, he wanted to stay with us, so there was no doubt. Now he is our player, I am really happy and satisfied with his performance, his leadership. He is in a very good moment on the pitch and I think he is enjoying himself.

Xavi on no away goals

I see it fairer. I like this format more than the previous one.

Xavi on referee payments

I try to focus on football, but this club has these kinds of stories too. I’ve been told we have done a public statement, and I follow what the club says. I think it has happened in years I was not involved with the club, but I will always defend the institution. We always analyse the referees, we keep an eye on whether they are very communicative or not. We’ve been dealing with it internally at the club for many years.

Xavi on Ten Hag

He is a great coach. Reversing the situation at United was not easy. He makes variants in attack and defense, they work very well. He is an attacking coach and he shows it in almost every game. He is a reference for coaches who like this kind of football.

Xavi on Araujo

Ronald is a leader. He is a beast in the defensive line. He can mark an era in the club and in world football. He is a spectacular player for us.

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