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Will Barcelona play with three or four midfielders against Real Madrid? Xavi says it doesn’t matter

The coach didn’t reveal much about his tactics before El Clásico but knows how he wants his team to play

UD Las Palmas v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Barcelona are getting ready to defend their Spanish Super Cup crown and will face their biggest rivals in the Supercopa Final for the second year in a row as the Catalans face Real Madrid in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Xavi Hernández has had a strong record in Clásicos since he took charge two years ago, and the coach has been mostly successful with his tactical plan against Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Last year’s Supercopa title match was an example of that, with Barça dominating the entire game and winning 3-1 in spectacular fashion.

Madrid have gotten stronger since then and arrive as the favorites on Sunday, so it’ll be up to Xavi to come up with yet another great plan to equalize things and give his team a chance to win.

One of Xavi’s best moves against Madrid has been the use of a four-man midfield to give him more control of possession in the middle of the park, and many expect the coach to use that same strategy again with the returning Pedri joining Sergi Roberto, Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gündogan in the starting lineup for the final.

The coach was asked in his pre-match press conference about the use of a four-man midfield, and Xavi did not want to reveal his plans but said he wants his team to play the exact same way regardless of how many midfielders are on the pitch on Sunday.

“The four-midfield system does not depend on Pedri. The plan is complete and now we’ll just decide on the names. The idea is clear, we need to stick to our identity. The Barça DNA, and to take the ball away from Madrid. The idea doesn’t change whether we play with four midfielders or three. It’s about passing patterns, triangles, numerical superiority. The DNA that was instilled 30 years ago by Johan Cruyff. Last year we were all very proud of Barça in the final and that’s what we’ll look to do again. Always faithful to ‘Cruyffism’.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

So we’ll have to wait until the lineup is announced to know for sure how many midfielders will be wearing the Blaugrana jersey, but Xavi’s message to the team seems pretty clear: win the game and make Cruyff proud.

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