Barcelona coach Xavi has previewed his team’s Copa del Rey first leg clash against Real Madrid on Thursday at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The manager spoke about the game, his team’s mentality, his attacking options and the loss of Pedri to injury.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Real Madrid
We plan this game like all the others. We know they are a difficult opponent, who can dominate with certain facets of their game. They are quick in transition in those moments, they can get to our goal quickly. It’s going to be difficult. We are playing in their stadium. They beat us in the league and we beat them in the Super Cup. It’ll be two games, it’s the semi-final, we’re happy to be here. It’s a different competition. It’s a different format. I think yes the decisive factor will be the second leg at the Camp Nou. We will go out to win, to show our personality. It’s a golden opportunity to win another title, so we’ll go 100% and hopefully win the game.
Xavi on two defeats
We have to be more of a team than ever, both in defense and attack. In these games the small details matter. You have to be very brave, have personality and minimise losses because they can hurt you with Vinicius, Valderde, Rodrygo, Benzema.
Xavi on pessimism about Barcelona
It doesn’t surprise me. I know the club and the environment around it and I know where the shots get fired. If we only look at the last two games, we are in hospital, but if we look at how we are doing overall — seven clear in La Liga, in the semi-final, Super Cup winners, the picture is still good.”
Xavi on Ansu Fati
Today he has returned to training with the group and it is great news. It was only a bruise. I see him very content, happy and motivated and he has to be important.
Xavi on mental state
We have to start a clean slate, it’s another competition, it has nothing to do with the last two games and in this competition we are doing very well. We have to change the chip and it’s a good opportunity to react.
Xavi on Pedri
He is a crucial footballer for us, he makes the difference with goals and passes and gives us that pause that we need in the middle. It is a very important loss for us like Dembele or Lewandowski.
Xavi on Estanis Pedrola
He’s a player we know from last season. He made his debut against Mallorca. He’s a player who is good in one-on-ones, he’s fast, can score goals, he can cut inside, he’s in good form. Given the absence of Robert we thought he’d be a good addition to the team.
Xavi on Ferran
I have full confidence in him wherever he plays, against Cádiz he was one of the best and he needed it. We give him confidence to be important, he already has been and he has to be. He has that ability to make a difference and we have blind faith in him.
Xavi on pressure
I don’t go under pressure, I go with enthusiasm and desire, it always motivates me to go to the Bernabeu, I like this healthy football rivalry, I like to go there and try to be dominant, it motivates me more than other games. I would like to play, I would love to have the ball in the Bernabeu’s midfield, but I can’t, that’s why I tell the players to try, to be brave, winning there is a very great feeling.
Xavi on Alarcon
They are all options, the other day he came in, I have a lot of confidence in him, he is versatile, he can play in the center or on the wing, he is strong, he can be very useful in the present and in the future, I like him a lot personally.
Xavi on Vini
He is making a difference, he is an exceptional player, he has added football, he is totally decisive for Madrid, we must watch him closely, he is differential
Xavi on Araujo
Wherever he plays he is a winner, in duels, in the passing game, he is very powerful and in defense one of the best in the world.