“Winning would be hitting the table”

Xavi Hernández faces, year and a half later to take the reins of the FC Barcelona bench, his first Clásico at home. Relatively calm due to the nine points advantage in the table, he knows the value that a victory would have, although without taking anything for granted. “In case of winning it would be a blow on the table: it would not be a definitive blow but it would be strong for us ”. He stated that “I expect Madrid to attack” and explained that “we prepared the game to dominate”, although in the first leg of the Cup at the Bernabéu it was not possible.

The Barcelona coach insisted that “they will try to have dominance, they already did it in the Cup, but we did not plan the game to be dominated, as happened to us at the Bernabéu. We want to have the ball, dominate”. And, although “I prefer to win 4-0 or 5-4”, claims the value of the points won by the minimum: “What’s wrong with the 1-0? It’s a fantastic result. Barcelona won the first European Cup, with a goal from Koeman, 1-0 and nothing happened”. He insisted that “usually we have been very good, but people are left with one game, the semifinal.”

Regarding the Clásicos won, in the Super Cup and in the Cup, pointed out that “I agree that we competed very well. On the day of the Super Cup we compete with the ball and on the day of the Cup, without the ball. If we do both things well, better. We will try to compete and have control with the ball, without the ball I suffer a lot”.

Wait “a Madrid perhaps more offensive. This will be good for them, for us maybe not so much.” And he made it clear that “we are not going to change our style: we are proactive, we are never going to shut down, we always push high, another thing is that they come out of that pressure and come to dominate our field.”

Despite the absence of the canary, Xavi believes that “we can master even Without Pedri, our goal is to be. He arrived very just, he wasn’t 100% and we don’t want to lose him for two months”. He reiterated that “the only game that we have not dominated has been the Bernabéu Cup and people keep that game.” He recalled that “they are very strong when they push you up top, they had the ball and dominated us.”

The public factor

He considers that, in terms of being a favourite, El Clásico “is at 50%, perhaps a little more for us. We play at home, with our fans, who I hope will push and support us”. And, before his first Clásico at home, “I’m very motivatedThe Clásicos give me extra motivation and the scenario is very positive for us. We have a lot to win, we play at home in front of our fans and we are excited, but you never know. The first Clásico at home makes me especially excited”.

He did not want enter to talk about the campaign of destabilization that Laporta denounced, although he did slip that “of course I subscribe to what he said. He is the boss, the leader, we have talked a lot, but I don’t want to talk about anything other than the party. We have to be mentally strong and compete, focused on the game”. Of course, it was very clear: “they will not destabilize us, we are very stable.”

As for Araujo, explained that “to stop Vinicius is strong, physically fast, he senses where the opponent will be unmarked, he is a physical marvel, he is responsible, he is a leader, world-class, currently one of the best defenders in the world”. He concluded that “having Ronald is an advantage, but Vinicius is a player who makes a difference, I love him, it’s not just Ronald, the whole team collectively must focus.”

and about of the evolution of Uruguayan with the ball he pointed out that “the improvement is largely due to the video, that he sees himself. He had worked on many things for us and he has improved, he has a lot of room for improvement, a tremendous commitment and desire to improve ”.

(+) Watch Xavi’s full press conference before the Clásico



He also praised the “personality” of Raphinha, who “has helped us a lot with goals and assists and it has not been easy for him. If he does not go to the national team, in a Barça key, better. He has accepted it, he is mentally strong ”. And he defended Gavi again: “Now I haven’t heard him for days, but what do they call him? Butcher?… I know the house very wellI know where those things come from. We have to be focused on football, like him. At no time does he go in bad faith ”.

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