Barcelona boss Xavi has been talking to the press ahead of his team’s eagerly-anticipated Champions League clash against Bayern Munich.
The coach spoke about the match, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and what he thinks has changed in his team since their last visit.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Bayern vs Barcelona
I think there’s a lot of expectations placed upon us for this season. Tomorrow doesn’t change anything. We can’t change things based on one game. It is of course a challenge and it would be a big achievement to win here. Things are different from last season. We are better, we’ve been working together for 9 months and we see ourselves certainly capable of competing tomorrow. We are excited and we have the challenge ahead of us that we can win this game and change our dynamics and our history here. We are playing against one of the best teams in the world, against a great manager. We’ve changed a lot, we’re in good form and we want to show that tomororw.
Xavi on Barca’s record vs Bayern
We’re talking about Bayern Munich here. I’ve experienced both sides of the coin. I’ve won and lost. Football is cyclical. But yes it’s true we’ve only managed to win twice and we’ve not won here in Munich. We know the difficulty of the challenge ahead. But I think we are more than capable of doing so.
Xavi on Nagelsmann
Bayern have started the Champions League well, they have a good squad, he’s a good coach. He shows that in the teams he coaches. Tactically he’s a good coach and it will be a difficult game. They play in an intense way, apply the high press, and it will be difficult. I’m surprised he is questioned.
Xavi on what to expect from the game
I think it’s going to be a level playing field. We both want the ball, we both apply the high press, we suffer when he don’t have it, we leave spaces in defense. I expect an intense game and we will fight for possession. We will try to have as much possession as possible.
Xavi on Lewandowski
Robert’s great. He’s calm, relaxed, he’s confident. He’s a natural leader for us. It’ll be a special game for him and he’ll be motivated. I rested him the other day so he’s fresh. We’re in a good moment but often that doesn’t mean anything. Tomorrow we will try to show our personality and compete against one of the best teams in the world.
Xavi on if he’s decided his team
Unless there are any last minute injuries I already know who will play.
Xavi on Raphinha
Yes for me he is an important player, he’s dynamic, he doesn’t just help us in attack, defensively he’s very intense, he understands how to apply the press. He’s a fantastic football player and I have a lot of confidence in him. Tomorrow he will be important for us no doubt.
Xavi on defending Muller
Muller is a fantastic player. He’s been playing for Bayern a lot of years, making a lot of difference. He understands the game very well. He’s a tremendous leader for Germany and Bayern. It’s difficult to defend a player like that.
Xavi on Lewandowski
We have Robert with us and he’s very important but we have other players too. Robert also applies the high press well, has a good understanding, his timing and speed gives us a lot, he understands how to find the free man. He understands the game very well. Not just Robert, also our wingers and midfielders. We have a lot of weapons in attack.
Given our recent results we come here with all the humility in the world but we suffered a lot last season here so tomorrow we want to compete very well. That’s what will leave me happy, if the players show our true potential which is different from the one we had last season, and leave behind the past results. I think we have a possibility to win tomorrow.
Xavi on what’s changed the most since last game vs Bayern
A lot of things but I think the mentality. That day we talked a lot after that game and I said we are Barca and that here we needed to run and show our personality, our character and give it our all out on the pitch. I think the first 20 minutes went well, but yes our mentality has changed. You can lose a game, but we want to impose our style of play, because we are Barca. So I think we have changed in our personality and mentality. Of course the transfers have helped, and the wins that give us more confidence, but the mentality of the players has changed a lot.
Xavi on if he needs experienced players
Not so much. I want to choose the players who are in the best form. Which players are the best to attack and defend. I want my team to show their character tomorrow. Experience is less important, some young players are in good form.