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Xavi talks Messi, Gavi and Marcos Alonso ahead of Inter clash

Here’s the latest from the Barcelona boss

RCD Mallorca v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Cristian Trujillo/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi spoke to reporters on Monday to preview his team’s Champions League group stage clash with Inter.

The manager spoke about the Serie A side, rumors of a Lionel Messi return and also shared his thoughts on Marcos Alonso.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Inter

Their form doesn’t mean anything. I’ve played a lot of matches, we have come in favorites and then we’ve not pulled it off. It’s Inter, they are a really strong squad, work hard, they have a good coach who creates really good attacking movements. They have two forwards, we don’t find that often in La Liga, they are a strong opposition. This is one of the worst groups we have had in the Champions League in recent years.

Xavi on if he knows his starting XI

I’ve got it pretty clear in my head. We know we can dominate, keep possession, what we have been working on the last few months. It’s an important match, not definitive, but it is very, very important to try and move on from the group.

Xavi on Barca being top of La Liga

It’s a good thing for morale and confidence. But this is a different story. We come from not winning any points in Munich. It’s an important match to show our personality.

Xavi on Barca’s approach

We have to be a little braver, we need to risk it maybe. That’s our philosophy, to go forward and not let Inter advance, knowing that they are a very direct and physical team. It’s not easy but we will try to show character and be brave.

Xavi on Sergi Roberto

For me Sergi is a guarantee. He played really well last season. Despite doubts about his contract, I always had it clear that he’s very important player for us. He’s the perfect player to play on the inside, out wide, as a pivot, he has a lot of confidence despite the criticism that comes. The coaches really value his professionalism in the dressing room.

Xavi on psychology

Yes that’s something we work on. We try to give the players confidence. We talk to the players individually and in groups. We come here in a good moment, the opposition aren’t, and we need to take advantage of that.

Xavi on Lewandowski

His effectiveness, he’s a tremendous player, at a very high level, spectacular. All the goals he scores are very welcome, they make a differen\ce, we won 1-0 the other day, so we are very happy with Robert. Everyone else needs to try and catch up with his numbers.

Xavi on which is the hardest competition to win

I think the Champions League is more complicated because you have to be just in the perfect moment, any detail could knock you out. It’s not as fair as La Liga. \\\

Xavi on Messi

It’s not the moment to talk about it, he’s a friend, I want the best for him. Barca is his home, and it always will be, but we’re not doing him any favors talking like this. He’s happy in Paris and I wish him all the best.

Xavi on Pedri

There are always things to improve for the attacking midfielders. It’s important they get to the area and score goals. It’s not always the shot, it’s that they create the opportunity. He’s a very important player for us, Gavi, Frenkie, Franck - they are all important. We need them to create chances for the team.

Xavi on Marcos Alonso

The signing of Marcos for me is extraordinary. He can play as a full-back, central, he plays really well, he’s one of the few left footers we have. He’s a really good signing for us. I see him as quite a well rounded player, and I think it’s good for us to have alternatives.

Xavi on Gavi

He’s grown a lot, very quickly. He’s still very young but he has a very mature way of playing, He doesn’t lose the ball so much, he gives us an intensity that’s marvellous. The way he recovers the ball, creates pressure, that he covers players like Busi when he pushes forward. He’s only 18 and he’s just marvellous for us.

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