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Xavi talks Jules Kounde, Inter and Barcelona’s Champions League chances

Catch up with the latest from the Barcelona boss

FC Bayern München v FC Barcelona: Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez faced the press ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Champions League clash against Inter.

The boss spoke about the importance of the match, Jules Kounde’s fitness, how his team can improve and what he’s expecting from Inter.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Inter

We expect something very similar to what we saw in the other leg. They are very defensive, they are normally very far back in their defending, with their block. We’ve been working hard in training to work them out better. I think we’ve improved a bit than the Barca we were in the last 15-20 minutes in Milan.

Xavi on the message to his players

The message I’m giving you now is this is a final. We need to go for everything, be positive, and try and not feel the pressure. The pressure is there for me as a coach and I hope they enjoy the game. It’s amazing seeing the Camp Nou full, full of our fans, something to enjoy, the atmosphere, the feelings, and if they win even better. If they win the match it will change the dynamic in the group.

Xavi on his plan

We will go on the attack, but we have to try to be better. In the first half we didn’t understand the role of Raphinha and Marcos. We will change something to attack much better. We have to be more aggressive. Only three points matter. We have to be brave.

Xavi on if he’ll take a 1-0 win

No, I want a 2-0. A 2-0 win is better.

Xavi on the fans’ role

Fundamental. The fans have understood, the tickets are sold out, tomorrow from the first moment the Camp Nou has to be a cauldron. Whatever happens, we are going to give everything so that the three points stay here.

Xavi on Kounde

In principle, we don’t count on Kounde for tomorrow, except for any surprises. I think he can make the Clasico on Sunday, but it will depend how he feels. If he’s not 100 per cent, then maybe not but I think he can make it against Madrid.

Xavi on what Celta

I think we lowered the intensity and Celta is capable of stealing your personality. We know the diagnosis: tomorrow push hard and not lower the intensity.

Xavi on how to manage the game

If we score in the first minute then great, but we have 90 minutes. We have to know how to attack better. If we attack like in the second half in Milan, I’m optimistic.

Xavi on the thought of going out of the UCL

It would be a big disappointment, but we are going to think positively. It has been difficult for us. We failed in Munich, then because of the controversy in Milan... but we have an opportunity to fix it tomorrow.

Xavi on Pedri and Gavi only finding each other 3 times against Celta

Yes, we have to improve that. We had also found that with individual marking it was difficult for us to find ourselves inside. You have to attack more from the second line, offer yourself more.

Xavi on Inter’s low block

We have a very clear way of attacking so that we feel comfortable. If they change their system, it doesn’t matter much to us. We have a clear idea to go out and win tomorrow.

Xavi on Lewandowski

Tomorrow is everyone’s day, he has to be important, not only tomorrow, in all the games, just like his teammates. We have to improve in the game, associate more with him, we haven’t done that in the last few games.

Xavi on Alba and Ferran Torres being whistled

We try to get the fans to help us, to be positive, I don’t think about anything else. I’m thinking that things will go well. I want them to be proud of the team.

Xavi on Frenkie de Jong

He’s fine, he’s coming off an injury, but he’s fine. Tomorrow we’ll assess whether he starts from the start or in the second half.

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