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Xavi talks touchline ban, Clasico win and Barcelona’s defence ahead of Valencia

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Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona: Semi Final Leg One - Copa Del Rey Photo by Manuel Reino Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi has been looking ahead to Sunday’s La Liga clash against Valencia at the Camp Nou.

The manager spoke about the game, the midweek win over Real Madrid and gave a few updates on some of his players.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Valencia

I believe we are going to dominate the game. They have a new coach. They are more aggressive now. They were very intense against Sociedad. We are delighted with the win over Madrid and we want the three points.

Xavi on media focus

There’s always noise here. It’s Barca. You have to know how to handle it from within. We are at the moment of truth, starting with tomorrow’s game

Xavi on Clasico win

We weren’t able to keep possession. That’s not what we want but in a big game that’s what can happen. We would like to have 60-70% possession but that’s not always possible. Real Madrid are a top club and we also have to work in defense and I think we were superb.

Xavi on being banned from touchline

Tomorrow we will decide where I will watch the match, maybe in an elevated area where you can see the football better. It won’t change much. It’ll be the same structure, same routine. The only thing is I won’t be able to sit on the bench.

Xavi on Barca not scoring from free-kicks

We train every day. Today Ansu, Raphinha, Marcos have all scored great goals. We need to be successful in matches, but I’m confident we can score.

Xavi on Kounde

Kounde prefers to play centrally but it’s a team game. He’s doing well. I think he’s been a remarkable signing for us.

Xavi on Clasico win Part 2

Barcelona is the hardest club in the world to manage. You have to win and win well. Just winning is not enough. We are happy because we won at the Bernabeu and we are closer to the final. I’d rather win and have the ball but this is football. They did well in terms of pressure.

Xavi on Sergi Roberto and Busquets contract renewals

I’m delighted for Sergi Roberto. He’s an extraordinary footballer. Everyone criticizes everything but in the dressing room we rate him very highly as a person and a player and I’m happy. We’ll see about Busquets. It’s up to him.

Xavi on rotating against Valencia

We have got data, then we analyze. We are always trying to have the players in best shape. Not tomorrow, it’s a final for us. After the Almeria defeat we have to win tomorrow. Madrid play after us so it’s good pressure.

Xavi on learning from Almeria defeat

I hope we have the intensity we need. I don’t want a repeat of Almeria. And then we have to wait for the Madrid result. But yes we have to win. We dropped three points against Almeria. No more mistakes allowed.

Xavi on injured players

Andreas is available. Robert has good feelings. Pedri and Dembele are not available. We don’t know when they will be back. This week we will know the dates but at the moment we don’t have that.

Xavi on Marcos Alonso

Marcos Alonso is doing very well. He’s reliable, has a strong character, personality, can play anywhere at the back. He’s good in the air. He’s quick, he’s a guarantee. I’m delighted with him.

Xavi on Barcelona’s defense

But we talk about defense. We start with Lewandowski. We all defend. We play as a group. Everyone attacks and everyone defends. Ter Stegen attacks and Lewandowski defends. If we do that properly then we do well. It’s a team spirit matter. Both in attack and defense.

Xavi on Estanis Pedrola

I think Estanis is a very versatile player. He’s scored important goals for the reserves. He’s a winger, can play right and left. He’s strong, tall, I think he’s an important player for the future.

Xavi on Franck Kessie

We are happy with Franck. He’s doing well. He generates chances, works for the team. He’s been patient and he’s got his reward at the moment. I’m happy.

Xavi on Ansu Fati

All strikers need to score. I see Ansu well, he’s going to be important I’m absolutely sure.

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