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Xavi talks Ronald Araujo, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Messi ahead of Osasuna

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Barcelona v Galatasaray: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Europa League Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Xavi has been talking to the press ahead of Sunday’s La Liga clash against Osasuna at the Camp Nou.

The coach spoke about the match, offered his thoughts on Ronald Araujo and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the midweek Champions League clash between PSG and Real Madrid.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Osasuna

In the first game they pressed us a little high. They also know to how to wait in a low block. They are intense. They have a clear idea how they want to play, putting in difficult crosses, It’s going to be very difficult. They are intense, aggressive. They don’t concede easy goals.

Xavi on why he prefers Frenkie to Nico when Busquets isn’t playing

Sometimes it could also be Nico. Frenkie and Nico fit that position, Pedri doesn’t. It’s the same as Ferran and Memphis will play together, I don’t really mind which position, it’s similar in their case. Nico can adapt perfectly in that position, in the 6 role of Busi. It’s an option. Nico can easily play in that position.

Xavi on if he’s thinking about the Gala game & El Clasico

We’ll have to see depending on injuries and fatigue. But it won’t condition it entirely. If we had won 2-0 against Gala we would have approached this game the same. We want to win, dominate and create chances on goal.

Xavi on if he’ll rest Araujo (who is on four yellow cards)

We’ll see. I usually base my central defenders on their profiles but also the opponents that we face. Depending on the height. Against Bayern, against Lewandowski & Muller, maybe we need a taller defender but it also depends on how we want to attack and how we bring out the ball. Eric is a player who does that great so it will depend on the circumstances.

Xavi on missed chances vs Galatasaray

We analyzed it. We need to attack better. The feeling I was left with is we should have attacked better, we need to understand the positions of our midfielders better, our No. 9 shouldn’t have dropped as deep to receive the ball. We need to make tactical, positional adjustments. We can also circulate the ball better. We need to be more precise.

Xavi on Madrid vs PSG, has he spoken to Messi?

Leo and me are friends. I sent him my best wishes. It’s football. It looked like Paris were going to win but Madrid managed to turn it around with excitement and belief. That’s football. The Champions League is like that. If you go lower your intensity the rival can get on top.

Xavi on how to beat the low block

We’ve had it several times, it doesn’t mean that in another game we didn’t do well. We did against Elche for example, but we need to do better. There are certain variants that arise that we need to adjust to. We’ve been training it, watching videos, trying to find solutions. I don’t see it as a problem. In many games when we’ve faced this, like against Napoli, we attacked and managed to score four goals.

Xavi on who he’d prefer to coach - Haaland or Mbappe

These are hypotheses. Right now I coach Pedri, Ansu, Busquets, the ones I have. The rest are just hypotheses. It would be good for La Liga for these kind of players to arrive. The league would grow.

Xavi on La Liga

I don’t focus on the maths. Tomorrow I just want to pick up the three points against Osasuna at home. They are going to make things difficult for us. We already dropped two points at El Sadar in the last minutes. I don’t think further ahead. It’s not about Galatasaray, it’s about Osasuna. We’ve analyzed them. They are a good team, have a great coach who can adapt to different systems. The focus is on the game tomorrow.

Xavi on Aubameyang

Auba is very important. He had played a lot of games, had a bit of fatigue. He has made a great effort to adjust to this team. He plays with a lot of intensity so it’s normal he has a bit of fatigue. But he’s important for us, generates a lot of chances, gives me a lot of possibilities, knows how to interpret space well, it’s a great advantage to be able to count on a player like that.

Xavi on helping Araujo to improve

I hadn’t thought about that [talking to Puyol or Mascherano]. I think with the squad we can help. He’s the player who has improved the most since we’ve been here, especially with the ball. He’s improved a lot, wins duels, good in the air, helps us with the high press. He’s not a player who grew up in the system but came from Barca B. He’s taken his time a little bit, he’s getting better, he’s very willing, which is an advantage for us.

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