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Xavi talks Ousmane Dembele, Riqui Puig and Ronald Araujo ahead of Villarreal clash

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Xavi has been talking all things Barcelona ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash against Villarreal.

The coach discussed a host of players, the club’s medical team, and rumors about a possible move for Arthur Cabral.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Villarreal

They are a great team, a Champions League calibre team and they have one of the best coaches of recent Spanish times. Unai Emery will make things difficult for us. We are prepared to compete tomorrow. We know it will be difficult, it’s a difficult stadium as well. We have won there but it’s been difficult so we expect a difficult opponent. It will be different from Espanyol and Benfica.

Xavi on Barca

Everyone will think in their own way, I’m happy with the defence, the pressure after losing the ball, and we’re missing the final third which is where games are lost. Daring more, getting to the box, daring with one-on-ones, but in general I’m quite satisfied with what I see on the pitch. We want to force our opposition into their own half and I think we’re achieving that, but we have to score and win games.

Xavi on Barca’s medical team

What I want is to surround myself with people I trust, loyal and faithful people, and for me it is essential to have Ricard Pruna, for me he is the best doctor that Barça has had.

Xavi on Ansu Fati

He is doing very well, he has very good feelings. He has started to run, but we have to be careful. Then we will see if we can take the risk or not. The other day we did it with Ousmane, he did not score but he was close and that is appreciated. Ansu is a very important player and we cannot risk losing him again, but it will depend on the player’s feelings.

Xavi on his midfielders

We need them, there are players who are playing and are not for sale at all. What we want is for them to be here and reinforce them, it is not our idea that they are for sale.

Xavi on Riqui Puig

He is one of the squad and, like everyone, will have opportunities, we are in several competitions. He has a huge talent to attack defenders, to reach the area and is capable of giving that final pass we need. He has an innate talent and has to be important for the team like Gavi and Nico are. He has to dare, he has to shoot, he has to get to the area.

Xavi on Dembele

Physically he’s good. We need to be careful because he wasn’t 100% the other day and he sacrificed a lot for the team. We discussed it and we appreciated it so much because it shows a great commitment to the team and I’ve been very happy with that. Tomorrow we’ll see, we’ll decide if he can start or not but we need to take care of him.

Xavi on Dembele’s future

I had a one-on-one talk with him, I made it clear to him how important he was for me not only for this season but for the future. It depends on him. Hopefully he can renew because he is a footballer capable of making a difference in the next few years.

Xavi on Arthur Cabral rumors

Transfer issues are hypotheses that are emerging. In the winter market we will see if we can strengthen ourselves or not and if we have the capacity to do so. Barça forwards have to understand the spaces and the collective game very well, and finish. Any striker who fits this profile can be valid for Barça.

Xavi on Busquets

He is a very intelligent player and for me a fundamental piece in the team’s machinery. He is the thermometer of the team, he is fundamental for me, as a coach, and as a captain.

Xavi on Ronald Araujo

I’m very happy to have Ronald on the team. He has such a great personality. He celebrates everything and to have that type of profile as a defender to be so engaged with the team and celebrate everything is hard to find. We welcome him with open arms because it’s spectacular to see him train, he’s so positive, he has an excellent character and that’s fundamental to us.

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