Barcelona coach Xavi spoke to the press on Saturday to preview the team’s next game on Sunday against Levante in La Liga.
The boss gave updates on his injured players, talked about Gavi’s renewal, and offered his thoughts on Pedri and Ousmane Dembele.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Levante
Against a top rival they will be very motivated. More recently they have been getting good results, in their last three games at home they have won seven points. They won at the Wanda Metropolitano. They will be a tough opponent, similar to Eintracht. We need these three points at a stadium that’s been difficult for Barca in recent seasons.
Xavi on Pique
He’s making a tremendous effort. These last two months he’s been incredible, he’s been playing at a high level. The other day we took him out because he wasn’t feeling great. He won’t play tomorrow and we’ll see on Thursday. He wants to try, he’s committed, but we’ll see how he feels. It’s not an injury, it’s more fatigue in his muscles after so much effort.
Xavi on Sergi Roberto
The sporting staff know my opinion. We’ll see how the negotiations go. He’s training well, we’ll see if next week he can become part of the group. It’s similar to Ansu, we’ll see how he feels, that will determine his return to the squad.
Xavi on Dembele’s form
I’ve said many times. I’ve seen a professional who is committed to the team and able to make a difference. There are few players who can play one on-one on both flanks. He takes care of himself, follows the rules, is loved by his teammates. He’s a positive player. I don’t have any complaints, quite the opposite.
Xavi on Eintracht
We looked at the game again and quite frankly we weren’t well. We lost a lot of balls in dangerous areas, we were not good. We weren’t attacking the spaces, a lot was missing, but we still took away a good result. The pitch wasn’t great but, being self-critical, we weren’t good. There were many areas where we need to improve. We didn’t play a good game there.
Xavi on star signings
The economical situation is what it is. We’re not in a situation where we can do anything crazy. We will prepare the squad for next season. The president and Jordi know my priorities. We’ll try but we must be cautious.
Xavi on Memphis and Dest
Both are close to coming back. They won’t be back tomorrow, it’s a bit too tight, but hopefully for Thursday. It’s on the sensations of each player, we don’t want them to re-injure themselves. It’s more about sensations than commitment of the players.
Xavi on Barca’s freshness
Physically we are great. That’s not the problem. The other day it was a footballing problem, it was mistakes of ours, that allowed Eintracht to be in the game. If you have the ball you attack better. If we lose the ball it hurts us. We also made tactical mistakes, didn’t stop counters, that’s why we suffered more than normally.
Xavi on Dani Alves talking about Mbappe and Haaland
We’ll see. The financial situation is complicated and we’ll se how we do things. Dani is everything. Everything he does and says is phenomenal. You guys sometimes complain you don’t have any headlines, well with Dani you have the opposite problem! It’s difficult to chose one. He’s a natural leader, he’s spectacular, for us and for you.
Xavi on Busquets
Finding a substitute is going to be difficult. What he provides in the offense and defense is incredible. Despite that he’s one of the most criticised players at the club. But I think he still has some way to go before he leaves. I hope he keeps playing for more years. I think they way we play will be beneficial for him. To find a substitute is very difficult that’s clear.
Xavi on Ansu
All the injured players receive care and attention and Ansu’s case, of course he’s a differential player, it’s difficult when he’s not here and we’re happy to have him back training with us. Things are looking good. He needs three or four more practices, but he doesn’t feel any pain and that’s important for us. He’s feeling good and hopefully he will come back sooner rather than later.
Xavi on Eric
We are very happy with Eric, me personally as well. His concentration, how he wins battles, the way he works in defense, his leadership qualiites. He’s excellent, he’s committed to this team. He’s already a leader of the defensive line. He has great qualities, he can be a central defender for Barca for many years.
Xavi on Pedri’s position
It depends who he plays with and the game as well, the defenders he has behind him. The other day it was hard to find him, our players couldn’t find him, everything was slowed down. We weren’t at out best. We couldn’t find Gavi either. We didn’t attack well.
Xavi on Adama
We’ll see what we can do in the market. Adama played a good game. He left his defenders behind him four or five times, crossed but we couldn’t find a finisher. He could have made a difference, he did his job. He’s a fundamental part of this squad.
Xavi on Gavi’s renewal
I’m optimistic. Gavi wants to stay. It depends on the club and the player and his agent, Ivan de la Pena. The intention is to stay so we’re trying to reach an agreement. He deserves to stay and we are hoping that he will.