Xavi has been chatting to the media ahead of Barcelona’s trip to Granada in Sunday in La Liga.
The coach spoke about the match, Barcelona’s injuries, Fermin Lopez and why it’s so demanding being the manager of the Catalan giants.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Granada
We have important players missing but we are fine after two hard-fought wins. We face a difficult opponent, the most physical in La Liga, an opponent that will play a direct game with great offensive potential. We have to control their direct football.
Xavi on Fermin Lopez
I have said it several times: he is a player that I like. He uses both feet, he can shoot from outside the area. He wins duels, he is aggressive, he is intense. He will have lots of minutes if he continues at this level.
Xavi on injuries
We have the most injuries at the moment but it’s not a plague. The squad is short and it makes it seem worse, but it is not like that: we have players to compete. We hope to recover players in the upcoming games.
Xavi on missing Lewandowski
It’s a big loss like Raphinha, Pedri, De Jong. He is our most differential player, he is a leader. Joao Félix, Ferran can play, we have called up Pau Víctor and Marc Guiu. Fermin knows what it is to play as a false nine.
Xavi on Oriol Romeu
He was not good with the ball [against Porto] like the entire team but Oriol is a guarantee. He gives us many things, defensive security, he is always well positioned. He is an extraordinary signing.
Xavi on his game plan
We have to see, but we always want to attack, whether we play with three forwards or with four midfielders. The philosophy does not change
Xavi on players coming back from injury
The one who is closest to returning is Pedri, but it is a matter of feelings. We have to recover as many as possible for the next game. We’ll see.
Xavi on Christensen as a pivot
He is not our first option. It would only be in an emergency like with Eric. We do not rule him out because he has played for the national team in that position, but we have other options like Romeu, Frenkie, Gündo.
Xavi on calling up Pau Victor and Marc Guiu
We saw that we were missing people up front, so we called Pau Víctor and Marc. Casado will stay with Barca Atletic due to their absences.
Xavi on Barca’s form
There are games in which we have been good and others, not so much. We have to take better care of the ball, but the attitude and effort are spectacular. In Porto, we ran the most this season, in kilometers. That says it all about attitude.
Xavi on Frenkie de Jong
At Barcelona everything is always undervalued, a player who is 8/10 is given 6/10. You have to be very strong mentally. That is why we try to give confidence to the players, Frenkie is one of the best in the world and that’s why people are surprised by the criticism. It’s Barca. That’s how it works.
Xavi on managing Barca
I hope I reach 200 games of course. There is no doubt that this is the most demanding club in the world because it is the only one where you have to win, play well and always have good results. It is the only club in the world where that happens.