Barcelona coach Xavi has been chatting with reporters ahead of the team’s next test against Sevilla on Friday in La Liga.
It’s a quick turnaround for the champions who will be keen to get back to winning ways after dropping points at Real Mallorca.
Xavi spoke about the game, discussed Lamine Yamal’s progress, and his team’s defending ahead of the match.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Sevilla
The game with Sevilla will be very difficult, tough, physical. We face the Europa League champions. But we’re at home. We need the fans and the atmosphere at Montjuic to get back on the winning track.
Xavi on Lamine Yamal
He is just 16, and there are moments in-games where it shows. Football is not only played when you have the ball, there’s also the work without it, you have to track back your full-back if you’re a winger and there’s a lot of physical effort involved. That’s when you can tell his age, and that’s why we need to protect him, manage the load and his minutes and the intense efforts he does. But when he plays there’s no question about it, his talent is incredible. I don’t see a bigger problem in the psychological aspect, if I’m honest. He is a really quiet kid, very calm. He’s dealing with everything very naturally.
Xavi on defense
Last year we were brilliant in defence and now not so much. We need to improve and get back last season’s vibes to win titles. We have to be more concentrated. It’s not just the goalkeeper. It is not true that it is difficult for us to play against five-man defenses. We created many chances, against Mallorca there were five or six very clear ones. We failed defensively. We have to improve defensively to win titles.
Xavi on Girona being top
We have Pablo Torre and Eric on loan there, and Eric scored yesterday. It doesn’t surprise me. They have been doing things very well for years, even after being relegated. It is a project with a very clear game model. It is not a coincidence. It is a long-term project with a lot of merit.
Xavi on the Negreira case
You already know my opinion. Take a look at the newspaper archive. I have never had the feeling that the referees benefited us, never. Next week there will be another piece of news about Negreira and the following week...
Xavi on Fermin Lopez
He played on Tuesday and after Frenkie’s injury we needed him, he can be useful to us. As well as the goal, he is dynamic and does things perfectly.
Xavi on Lamine Yamal again
He has ease in one-on-ones, you have to look for him. Like before with Dembele, or with Messi... you have to take advantage of them and empower these types of players. Lamine must be enabled when he is on the pitch.
Xavi on Raphinha
His was the ideal reaction that a footballer should have, especially after the mistake in Getafe. He knows it. He has trained very well, just like Ferran. They deserve to play because they make a difference.