Xavi faced the media on Wednesday ahead of tomorrow’s big Europa League clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The tie is delicately poised at 2-2 following the first leg which means both sides will be confident of progressing to the last 16.
Xavi spoke about the Red Devils, in-form striker Marcus Rashford and rumors of a possible return for Lionel Messi.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Man Utd
It will be a very difficult game, Manchester United are one of the best teams in Europe today and they’re showing it every game. Ten Hag is doing a great job. They are a team that show intensity, mentality, passion, rhythm... we will need to match them in every level, to show personality and be loyal to our style. Above all, we need the bring the mentality to compete in Europe. We can say that Manchester United have returned and they are playing their best football in many years. It is a good opportunity to show that Barca can also compete.
Xavi on if he’s chosen his team
I have decided the team, but the idea doesn’t change. I have not told the players yet but whether it’s with four midfielders or not, it’s the same.
Xavi on missing Gavi and Pedri
I would highlight the loss of Dembele. He is key for us, he’s someone who can make the difference. Pedri brings order and Gavi, with his intensity, would be perfect for a game like this. But we are here to compete. The absences can’t be an excuse. I think we have the team to win and go through.
Xavi on extra-time and penalties
All scenarios are possible: overtime, penalties, winning, losing. The idea will not change much, which is to attack, have the ball, and make them feel uncomfortable.
Xavi on Sergi Roberto
Sergi can play in several positions and for me he is a guarante.
Xavi on handling the pressure
I tell them that the pressure is on me and that I would give anything to play this game. Controlling emotions, yes, it will be important.
Xavi on Lewandowski
Forwards always need to score, but we look beyond the goals. He has also excelled in assists. Lewndowski is a huge footballer, he has changed our mentality, not just the team, but also for the club.
Xavi on Rashford
He’s an exceptional player, in great form, scoring goals. He’s the difference maker for United. But that’s it. We’ll try to do what we always do defensively and show our personality. But he’s a player we need to take an eye on.
Xavi on Messi
I’ve said it more than once, the doors are always open for him. He is a friend, and we are in permanent contact. It will depend on what he wants to do, and also on what fits the club. He’s the best player in history, he’d always fit it.