Barcelona coach Xavi faced the press on Saturday to discuss the upcoming Clasico clash at the Camp Nou.
The manager spoke about several of his players, his approach to the crunch game and how Pedri’s recovery from injury is progressing.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on El Clasico
We are preparing the game in a certain way. We’ll try to be more dominant than we were last time against them. We will try to be more active with it than we were at the Bernabeu. We have worked on many aspects this week to be more dominant. I see the team in a good moment. We expect Camp Nou to be loud and to help us. I see Real Madrid in a really good moment. From a physical angle, way better than when we played in January. It’s a Clasico and so you can’t predict anything.
Xavi on Pedri
It was a bit early for Pedri, we knew that. There was a risk but he wanted to train yesterday. He did not feel 100 per cent ready. In this sort of game, if you are not at full capacity, you can’t play. It’s a pity but he does not have to force. It’s not a final. We don’t want to lose Pedri for two more months.
Xavi on the title
If we win, it would be a knock in the table for Madrid. It wouldn’t be definitive, but it would be a strong blow. Whatever happens, I think nothing will be decided.We train naturally, knowing we have a great opportunity. If we win, we will take a very important step to win the league.
Xavi on the Clasico at the Camp Nou
I am very motivated. I am very culé and the Clásicos extra-motivate me. The stage is very good. We have a lot to win. We play at home and we have trained very well. I have very good feelings.
Xavi on Araujo vs Vinicius
Ronald is very strong, fast, he intuits well. He is a physically strong. He is responsible, a leader, a winner in aggressive duels. He is a world-class defender, one of the best in the world. Having him is an advantage. He has came out the winner, but Vinicius can make a big difference. He’s an extraordinary value for Madrid.
Xavi on winning 1-0
The result is one thing and the style of another. If I could choose, I prefer a 4-0 or a 5-4, but it’s hard to score goals. Those that have not played football at an elite level can’t understand what it’s like to have an opponent in front of you, especially Madrid, the Champions League holders. To beat them 1-0 is a fantastic result.
Xavi on Raphinha
I particularly like him. He has a spectacular personality. In difficult times he has known how to work and get out of the bad times. We have benefited from Rapha. He is making a difference in his first year at Barca.
Xavo on being without Pedri and Dembele
We’ve done it in other games. We have similar profiles. Without Pedri, or Dembele or even without Robert. We just haven’t done it in one game.
Xavi on Brazil not calling up Raphinha
We haven’t talked about not being called up. It will be good for him to rest and have a few days. I see him well, happy and content.
Xavi on refereeing scandal
People can say what they want. I never felt that I won because of the referees. If that were the case, I’m going home. Just as I don’t want them to harm me, I don’t want them to benefit me.
Xavi on Araujo’s improvement
Ronald’s improvement is with a lot of video. Our training sessions are based on decision-making. At first it was difficult for him, but in a very short time he has improved a lot. He sees that he has room for improvement, he is very involved. It is very easy to train Ronald Araujo.