Xavi was back in front of the press on Monday to preview Barcelona’s next La Liga game against Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou.
The Barcelona boss spoke about the game, Ansu Fati’s fitness, Ousmane Dembele’s future and offered his thoughts on reports Erling Haaland will sign for Manchester City.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Celta Vigo
It’s a good test for us. Our objective for the Champions League has been reached, now we want to secure the Super Cup place and finish the season in the best way possible. They are a good team, very offensive and have achieved their objectives. It’s an important test for us, we need to improve.
Xavi on what he wants from his midfielders
We want to create more chances, play better, not lose the ball so much, minimize the errors that condition our play. We are not always playing very well, we give our opponents too many chances to hit us in transition. With the style of play we want to implement it’s important not to lose the ball. We must be more responsible. We are pressing well, but we need to play better when we have the ball.
Xavi on Busquets
It’s hard to find a substitute for Busquets, someone with his characterisitics. Tomorrow we will miss him but we have various options. Busquets won’t be eternal, he’s human like the rest of us, so we need to plan ahead. Barca should, at the minimum, have two players in each position. That’s important. We need to think about the future.
Xavi on if Barca need to sign a top striker?
I think it’s important to strengthen the squad each season, whether you win or lose, and more so if you lose. This year wasn’t positive for us, we didn’t win anything, so we need to reinforce the squad but we also have the economic situation. It’s difficult right now, it’s probably the most complicated situation in the club’s history. We will see what we can do.
Xavi on Ansu Fati
Ansu’s good. We have to be cautious after such an important and long injury. We need to be careful but he’s good, he’s happy. He scored a goal, he a difference maker, and I’m happy for him.
Xavi on Ansu playing for Spain?
There are still three matches left to play. If he plays too many minutes it will be a risk for him. But we have a clear plan with him. He’ll be 100%, there’s no doubt about it.
Xavi on Haaland to City
It’s not official yet right? In that case I have no comment. Once it’s official you can ask me again. It’s very difficult for him to join us given the economic situation.
Xavi on players leaving
We have quite a clear idea. It’s difficult to change my opinion at this point in the season, I’m pretty clear in my ideas. We will see what we can do. The economic situation conditions my decision making a lot but we’ll see.
Xavi on his message to the fans
It’s not about me succeeding. Many times they use the past manager to compare, but the point here is that Barca must get back to where they need to be. They compare me with Koeman or other managers. Koeman did a great job, we are trying to do a good job and get Barca back to the top. We are coming off a tough situation. I think we have improved a lot from a footballing perspective. We’ve played some excellent games, some not so good, you can see it in the standings. That’s not a criticism of Koeman, I don’t want to criticize him. Barca in general were in a bad situation in November. Since my first game against Espanyol until the last one against Betis the team has improved, a lot, that’s a fact.
Xavi on Barca not signing Haaland
It is very difficult because of the economic situation. I can’t lie to you, that is the reality. I wouldn’t say all about money. I am not going to disrespect other clubs’ sporting projects. We are not the only club with a good project. City have won a lot of titles. But if what you say happens, it would have been because of financial issues.
Xavi on if Riqui Puig should leave
Right now we are talking about players who are important for these next three matches. We will talk more about this at the end of the season. We are planning right now and right now our objective is to finish the season the best we can. After that we have more time to talk about this.
Xavi on Dembele
Again, we need to adapt to an economic situation. I don’t have any doubts with Ousmane, he generates a lot of danger. He’s been unlucky in front of goal but he’s been helping the team with his assists. He’s a difference maker, perhaps what’s been missing is just a goal. I’m very satisfied with him. He’s been playing at a high level. The club know my ideas for next season, talks need to happen. If we can make it happen, it won’t be easy, but we’ll see. Hopefully, he can stay. I think he can help us. I am convinced he can do so going forwards.
Xavi on Aubameyang
He’ll continue to score goals. Aubameyang’s goals are incredible. He moves well inside the box, he knows to move into space, connect with the team. He will help us in these next games and next season. He’s got excellent numbers since his arrival.
Xavi on Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie needs freedom. Many times he comes to receive the ball but we insist he focuses on attack. He’s playing well, I’m very happy with him. He’s taken a step forward since we got here. He’s played well in many games. We often ask him to keep his position and attack the defensive line, he doesn’t play in such as defined position as others but we are very happy with him.
Xavi on Jandro Orellana
He’s a midfielder from La Masia. He’s very dynamic, he can play inside as a defensive pivot, we also had Alvaro Sanz join us. They are important and hopefully they can have a chance.
Xavi on if Barca do psychological work with Ansu Fati
Yes with him and all the players. We don’t just do football work but also psychological work. We have a very personalized system in place. We want to get the best out of the players and we are very on top of that.