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Xavi talks Frenkie de Jong, Dani Alves and Memphis Depay ahead of Barcelona vs Espanyol

Check out the latest from the new boss

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-PRESSER Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi took charge of his first pre-match press conference on Friday as manager of Barcelona to preview his first game in charge against Espanyol in La Liga.

The new boss spoke about the opposition, answered questions on several of his players as well as who might make his first starting XI.

Here, as usual, are the best bits.

Xavi on Espanyol

We have to try and control our emotions because we are playing in a derby and we cannot slip up. There will be tension, nerves but I have confidence in my players. I am very excited by what I have seen in training, plenty of intensity and pace. I am liking what I am seeing with the team having a great attitude. We are tight group, a family and that’s what it is all about. Now we have to turn those positives into a good result.

Xavi on training

We have not had many days to work together, but many players already know our ideas. We’ve tried to implant our style in the little time we’ve had as well as analysing the opposition. We have players that have already played in a similar way. Camp Nou must be a fortress. We can’t slip up.

Xavi on what’s surprised him

I like the talent that there is in the squad. If you play with pressing, possession, control than you can see the talent; they pick it up quick. The intensity has surprised me, the desire to do well. We have spoken to them individually and as a group and we have given them the welcome but I think it’s necessary to start competing from tomorrow.

Xavi on who will play

We have to train after this press conference. I still don’t know which players will play but my feelings are good ones with the youngsters. The ones who were already there and those who have been promoted. Ansu, Dembele, Martin, and Kun are out of the squad list so we will have to count on the youngsters. But they are prepared, we have seen it at Barca B, we have seen it last Saturday. Of course there could be some surprises but I haven’t decided yet my starting XI.

Xavi on his new rules

I don’t need to shout or be a sergeant, I said it’s about order, not discipline. It’s been a great few days together. When we’ve established order, things work. It’s about order, attitude, sacrifice.

Xavi on Dani Alves

The president told me he was an option and I made a decision. I know Dani very well, he’ll add to everything. We know how he plays and he’s very good physically. He passed the medical and is a spectacular player. The pity is that he can’t play until January. In terms of linking moves he’s one of the best players I’ve seen, and he has experience. There are no doubts with him. He’ll be a great reinforcement in all ways.

Xavi on the team’s ambitions

The goal is to win. We have to climb the table. Barcelona have to be fighting for titles. We have to transmit positive energy and that we are not in the position that Barcelona deserves. Let’s go. Let’s see how far we get.

Xavi on Gavi

He is a good wildcard, who can play in many positions. He can play as a winger, an interior, and even as a pivot, he has a very complete profile, therefore he is a very important player for the present and future.

Xavi on Memphis

He is a very important player for us. He is also making a difference with the Netherlands and he is a player who needs to feel involved. We are talking about a player who makes a difference. He can play at 9 and winger. We’ll see tomorrow what we do but we need him. He’s one of the team’s scorers and we need him to be happy.

Xavi on Luuk de Jong

We need all the available players. They all have to be important at Barça and they must be prepared to play. The same thing happens with Luuk.

Xavi on Coutinho

Coutinho is someone who can play in various positions and he can be important for the team. He needs to re-find himself and recover his confidence. If he does, he will help us a lot. He has an innate talent. It depends on him. He will get chances because he’s a player I like personally. It’s more psychological than anything because he has talent.

Xavi on Frenkie

Frenkie has to be really important for us, absolutely, he has to make the difference. He has to score goals, he has to be important in attack and defense. He can help us at many points and he has to make a difference.