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Xavi talks Ousmane Dembele, Jules Kounde and Ansu Fati ahead of Betis clash

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

Rayo Vallecano v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Xavi has faced the press to discuss Barcelona’s next La Liga match against Real Betis at the Camp Nou on Saturday evening.

The boss spoke about the return to fitness of Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen, Ansu Fati’s lack of game time and responded to reports about Pablo Torre’s attitude.

Here are the bests bits:

Xavi on Real Betis

Betis are a great team. Physically they are strong and play at a high level. Guido and William have a high level. Borja, Rodri, Ayoze, a high technical level. We will try to take the ball from them and be dominant. We come from worst game of the season but now we have another chance in LaLiga.

Xavi on La Liga

What felt like an eternity was last year, fighting to get second place. This season is not dragging at all; it makes me happy. I don’t get the media sometimes. I am enjoying myself in La Liga this season. I think we are competing well. Who would not have taken this position at the start of the year? I am having a great time. It doesn’t surprise me. I said it before, this is the most difficult club in the world. Winning 1-0 is not enough here. We have won 1-0 a lot this season playing well, but it’s not enough.

Xavi on Ansu Fati’s lack of game time

I see that Ferran and Raphinha are a little better than Ansu, also Robert. Ansu and the rest of the players are competing between themselves. He’s played, he’s been important, scored important goals. There is big competition for places at Barca.

Xavi on Barca’s dip in form

If we look at the last 20 games, it’s fantastic, but if we just look at the last four, it’s not. We have to react and regain sensations like we did against Atletico and that’s what we need to recover, our way of playing. Tomorrow is a key game to react against a really tough rival.

Xavi on Messi

We don’t know if Leo will sign or not. It’s too soon. We are focused on Betis, on winning this league. That’s important for us, for the club, the staff. We’ll see about future signings.

Xavi on Dembele

We have missed Ousmane. He is the best player we have in one-on-one situations. There are few better than him. His recovery has taken longer but he is back and he is happy. We will see if he can start on Saturday or come on. It’s great news to have him available.

Xavi on Christensen

Christensen, I asked for him, he’s my signing. We missed him a lot, playing from the back and his focus in defence. He’s always concerned about what could happen. He’s an incredible player even though people outside don’t value him as much. We missed him a lot and tomorrow he is available and 100%.

Xavi on Pablo Torre’s attitude

I’ve read different things about Pablo Torre that is fake news. He’s an example in the locker room, a professional, he works really well, is involved, loves football. He’s loved in the locker room. He’s a fantastic guy. The issue is that there is a lot of competition, he is playing minutes in the Barça first team and that is a lot. He is helping us. I hope he can be important and he has to be ready to participate.

Xavi on Aleix Garrido

I think he has a lot of talent. When he was in the squad a few weeks ago I told him he can have a fantastic future at the club.

Xavi on Joaquin

Joaquin is an incredible person, more than the player he is. He’s been extraordinary, an incredible talent, one of the best wingers i’ve seen in my career. I think he could have played for Barca, in the way we play, he would have adapted well to our philosophy. He’s a great person, a good team-mate. I love to talk about him.

Xavi on Raphinha

Raphinha is having a good season, with goals, numbers and hard work. He helps us press up front. He’s an intense player. Sometimes he’s frustrated because he wants to do everything perfectly. He’s an incredible player, always works hard and has a fantastic attitude towards successs here.

Xavi on Kounde’s position

We will have time to think about next season. He is adapting well to right-back. I know he’s a center-back but circumstances are what they are. He has to adapt to play as a right-back for the team and he’s playing well. It’s not his best position, he’s a center-back, he prefers to play there. He is helping us a lot in defence. Incredible as a right-back or a center-back.

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