Barcelona coach Xavi spoke to the press on Saturday to preview his side’s next La Liga clash against Sevilla at the Camp Nou.
The Catalans can move second with a win over the Andalusians and head into the match on a great run of form.
Xavi spoke about Sunday’s opponents, offered updates on Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati and told Barcelona they simply have to keep hold of Ronald Araujo and Gavi.
Here are the bests bits:
Xavi on Sevilla
Tomorrow is another final for us. We have the chance to go second in the league after a really good run of results. We want to show again that we are in a great dynamic, working hard, and I think we showed at the Bernabeu we can compete against anyone. Yes, tomorrow will be a massive test against Sevilla who are not in their best moment. They are a top side with a fantastic manager that I admire.
Xavi on fighting for the title
We will have an eye at what happens at Balaidos this afternoon. We prefer to stay focused on ourselves. If good news comes from Vigo it will be great for us. We want to move up the table.
Can Xavi demand more after beating Real Madrid?
What I demand from my players is to keep playing well. To work as a team, to press high up front like we did in the Bernabeu in the first 60-70 mins then we slowed down a little bit. We know the way to play. They are improving but we have to continue.
Xavi on a message to his players
To keep working hard. Our main objective is to play in the Champions League next season. We were in a tough situation when we arrived but now we are getting good results. At the Bernabeu it was just three points, we have to continue fighting. We want more points tomorrow and to try to win the Europa League.
Xavi on who benefits most from the international break?
I don’t know. We have a lot of players who have continued playing. Mentally, I think it’s been positive for us after playing so many games in February and March. We will see tomorrow if we keep the same rhythm, intensity. I’m optimistic from what I’ve seen in training.
Xavi on Rudiger rumors
I’m not going to talk about signings. I know you like to talk about names and signings but we are focused on the final part of the season. What I can tell you is that the club are working on the squad for next season but we have to focus on Sevilla and reaching second place.
Xavi on when Ansu Fati will return
It will depend on Ansu, his feelings, after completing more training sessions. He has trained 3-4 times with the rest of the squad. He’s happy, he’s smiling and this is the most important thing. He’s part of the group and that will help him a lot. His feelings will be important to decide when he will be back.
Xavi on possibility of Pique returning to Spain squad
That’s a question for Luis Enrique and for the player. He’s a reference for me, he’s got clear ideas, he’s a fantastic manager, and he’ll make the decision. As a national head coach he has a lot of options and I’m happy with Pique. He’s playing at a fantastic level.
Xavi on rotations
We have lots of players who are crucial, not just the XI, and that’s positive. We have different options, lots of players deserve the minutes. They all train really well. Long trips, possible injuries, suspensions, we will play a lot of games and we will have to rotate.
Xavi on if he wants to sign versatile players or specialists?
It depends on what the team needs. Busquets has a specific position for example. Then we have other players who can play in different positions like Araujo or like Dest who can play on the left or the right, or our wingers. It’s always important to have different kinds of players.
Xavi on Dembele’s future
I see him happy, involved in the project. Since I arrived in November he’s been a fantastic professional. It depends on him. He will be a free agent in June and so it’s a question for Ousmane. I have a clear opinion. He’s a really talented player. I’ve said it before. If he’s fit he can be the best in the world in his position. He knows our project and he has to agree with the club.
Xavi on Gavi and Araujo
They are really important. I give big importance to Gavi and Araujo and the club needs to retain these two players. They are the present and the future of his club. Hopefully this situation will be resolved with a bit more time. I am optimistic, hopefully they will stay many more years.
Xavi on who could succeed Busquets
I still see Busquets playing many more years. He doesn’t have to leave now. We need him and hopefully he will stay for many more seasons. When he’s not available Frenkie can play there or Nico, but I see Nico more of an attacking midfielder.