Xavi Hernandez faced the press in a pre-match conference ahead of Barcelona’s crucial clash with Athletico Madrid. The Barcelona manager is under immense pressure as his team’s lead at the top of the La Liga table has been cut down to just 11 points with nine games remaining. After a string of disappointing performances, Xavi will be looking to inspire his team to a victory against a formidable Athletico Madrid side that has been in red-hot form this season. In his press conference, Xavi addressed the recent woes that Barcelona has faced and talked about how they plan to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
Xavi Press Conference
On Atletico: “They have a great team. Cholo is a great coach. We are up against a top rival and in a state of grace. They are perhaps the most in-form team at the moment. Griezmann is in great shape, and Simeone is doing a great job.”
On Lamine Yamal: “We are trying to give the youngsters a chance and he is a player who can help us and has great talent. He is young, with character, and is strong in 1v1s. He’s a player who can shape an era with the team, he’s not afraid of being called up. He might help us. His contract? We’ll focus on the present. I am very happy with what I saw in training from him, and that’s why I called him up. The idea that his contract is about to expire is not related to him being called up. The youngsters are not afraid at all. When I look at Lamine, I see an enormous level of self-confidence. Just as Pedri has Iniesta’s qualities, Lamine is different, too. He has things from several footballers and has an innate talent. I don’t find him resembling anyone in particular.”
On Messi: “I’m not aware of all the talk about Messi. What I have to do is work and think about the next game, not next year or transfers. For me, this is not the time to talk about Messi.”
On Dembele: “He’s practically fit again. This week we will get him back. Christensen is also almost 100%. Tomorrow, we will decide if Pedri and/or Frenkie start. Except for Sergi Roberto, we are close to having the entire squad ready.”
On the Getafe game: “I’m criticised for everything and it does not bother me at all. I’m not going to change my mind. The sun bothered us and the dry pitch does not benefit any team. The question is for Quique [Sanches Flores]. Why didn’t he water the pitch?”
On Lewandowski: “He’s fine, motivated, training well, and always looking for chances. He will score again, and continue to be important.”
On Griezmann: “Griezmann is an essential player for Atletico Madrid. He is in excellent shape. He seem comfortable and he’s a player to keep in mind.”
On Carrasco: “Carrasco is a great player. He works a lot because sometimes he has to cover the entire left-wing. He’s a hard worker, involved, and generous. Tomorrow, we could have problems if we don’t stop him well.”
With only a few weeks remaining in the season, the pressure is mounting on Xavi and his Barcelona team. The race for the La Liga title has been getting more intense. With Athletico Madrid breathing down the necks of both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Xavi knows that the upcoming match against Athletico Madrid will be a massive test for his team. Barcelona they will have to play to their full potential if they want to secure a win. The Barcelona manager has the support of the fans, and they will be hoping that his tactical genius can lead them to glory. It remains to be seen whether Xavi can turn things around for Barcelona. But one thing is for sure, the next few weeks will be full of excitement and drama.