Xavi Hernandez was back in front of reporters on Saturday to preview his team’s next La Liga game against Real Mallorca on Sunday.
The Barcelona boss spoke about Ansu Fati’s imminent return, a chat he had with Frenkie de Jong as well as the club’s current injury sitation.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Barca’s week
This week has been great for us. We’ve been able to recover players and the team, mentally and physically. We were sad, angry, but we’ve started working to improve things. We’ve lost two great chances to qualify for the Champions League but there is another game at home tomorrow. We need those three points and to get the good feelings back. There’s a lot at stake in the last games of the season for everyone. We need a final effort, to achieve our objective.
Xavi on Ansu Fati
We will give the squad list tomorrow but Ansu will be in it. He’s feeling well, has good sensations, over the last 2 weeks we’ve seen a great improvement. If all goes well he will get some minutes tomorrow. He’s happy, he’s smiling, I’m happy to have him back. He’s a special player.
Xavi on Frenkie de Jong
I said it several times. Frenkie is a player who can make the difference in every game. We had a one to one chat and it was very good. I think after that he came out feeling calm. After that game he was frustrated, and I can understand that, Frenkie has had great performances for us, excellent games, he needs to be constant, try things. He’s strong physically, he can make the final pass, he can make the difference. I told him I don’t think I see other players like him. He needs to transmit that on the pitch. He’s an important player for now and the future.
Xavi on injuries
Pedri got injured, it’s a shame, he’s working by himself but we have to see how he goes. Pique has been managing a tendon issue for some months. Sergi Roberto’s operation went well but he’s had another muscular injury which might be 2-3 weeks. Nico has a fracture yesterday, he crashed into Ansu, it’s a shame. We need all of our squad. We also have two players out with Covid. Dembele had tonsillitis today as well.
Xavi on La Liga
Real Madrid can win the league today and if they do we’ll congratulate them. It’s not by chance. It’s such a long competition, normally won by the team who deserves it. Next season we will compete better.
Xavi on Ansu’s best position
He can play out wide and in the middle. On the wing he can run into space, he’s good on one on ones. In the middle he can combine with his teammates, he’s good at passing. A player who can score needs to be in the box. He has that instinct, you don’t know how it happens. When the team needs a goal Ansu is usually here. He needs to be close to the box whether it’s on the wing or out wide.
Xavi on Koeman’s comments
I wasn’t here. I can’t give my opinion, I don’t know what the situation was or how much support he had. I have great respect and admiration for him. He came at a very tough moment. Now we are here to try and turn things around. I have maximum respect for Ronald and the work he did, how Cule he is, the sacrifice he made coming here. I do feel the support of the club and the president.
Xavi on Real Mallorca
Aguirre is a man who always gets a great level of performance out of his team. He has great experience. He’s very humble, honest. He’s changed the system. He uses set pieces, they are very aggressive, they beat Atletico, they have won important games. It’s another tough team.
Xavi on the run-in
It’s a time to take a step forward. We have to be more united than ever and show personality. It’s not because of a bad attitude. It’s because of situations have gone against us. We have to improve.
Xavi on Adama Traore
I don’t want to talk about next season because we need to focus on what’s important right now. Adama is helping us, I told him you are going to help us, maybe you won’t play every minute but he’s helped when he’s come in, given assists, regardless of the minutes he’s played. He’s a pure winger who can get away from defenders, put the ball in. I’m very happy with him. I think he’s played well.
Xavi on how his team can improve
When you shoot 28 times on goal and the opponent shoots 3 and you don’t score but you do concede, you need to analyse what’s going on there. How important it is to take the lead instead of conceding. Cadiz and Rayo are games we needed to win.
Xavi on Riqui Puig
Pedri’s not there, Nico’s not there, we have four midfielders. So, yes, now with the players we’re missing, Riqui Puig has more chances of getting more minutes. Everyone has to be ready to play.