Barca vs Viktoria Plzen: Xavi’s pre-match Press Conference

Xavi spoke about Pjanic’s exit, change in the team’s mentality, winning the Champions League, comparisons with Enrique and Pep’s Barca, causes of failures in the past, Pique and Alba being sidelined, and the match against Viktoria Plzen in his pre-match press conference.

Xavi’s pre-match Press Conference

Xavi on Viktoria Plzen:

“We are playing against a strong opponent who can hurt us with fast transitions. This is the Champions League, and we want to start in the best possible way. We got into a strong group, but we’re very excited.”

“Our goal is to get beyond the group stage. Right now we want to win the three points and come out of the game with positive feelings. Viktoria are doing good things. We know that any mistakes we make will cost us. So we have to start well and we want to win the three points at home. It is important for us to have a good start and then go back to thinking about La Liga.”

Xavi on Pjanic’s exit:

“Pjanic decided to leave in order to look for opportunities. He is a professional player. We called Pablo Torre up for tomorrow’s match. Pjanic decided to leave in order to play more minutes. Despite everything, I depend on Pablo Torre. He might play tomorrow, and I’m sure he’ll help us a lot.”

Xavi on rotation against Viktoria Plzen:

“Yes, there will be a rotation in tomorrow’s match. We have a lot of players and we have tired players after the intense Sevilla game. We have a very deep squad and we have to rotate.”

Xavi on being excited about Champions League:

“I’m excited for the Champions League. I want to compete in the best tournament in the world. It was difficult last season with us not qualifying for the knockouts, but we have to appreciate it and play our best.”

Xavi on the absence of Alonso and Bellerin:

“They are two new signings. They have to train to be physically ready. They will be available in the next match.”

Xavi on having the best team:

“I have a good team but the players have to show their quality. I might come here and say I have the best team in history and then lose tomorrow. Players have to show their abilities on the field. At the end of the season you can come and ask me again do I have the best team in history?”

Xavi on keeping the possession:

“We saw a lot of offsides in the Sevilla match. This means that they attacked us more. We always have to keep the ball more. And we have to be more efficient in front of the opponent’s goal.”

Xavi on Barca’s progress so far:

“The team has developed a lot since I arrived last November, whether through positional play or improvement in attack and defense. We want to keep improving our level of play, and the results will judge our success. But I am happy with the progress we are making.”

Xavi on winning the Champions League:

“We are in the Champions League and we dream of winning it. Will it be difficult? Of course, we have 5 in our history and we will try to compete and hopefully win it. It’s hard to say we are the favorites to win the Champions League. Last season we played in the Europa League, today we are in the Champions League. We have to remain humble.”

Xavi on his style being compared to Enrique’s Barca more than Pep’s Barca:

“I don’t know. I learned a lot from both, they are references for me. If they are not in the top 3 then they are among the top 5 coaches in the world. We want to play with possession, and we did that against Sevilla. We play a lot with quick moves, as we did against Real Madrid with Pep in the 6-2 match, especially in Henry’s goal when I passed the ball to him. We do this now, and this is the Barca DNA.”

“With Enrique, we had Messi, Suarez, and Neymar. For me, both teams are great, but now we want to play modern football. We have players who can attack space a lot like Dembele, Torres, Fati, and Lewandowski. We want to take advantage of that speed.”

Xavi on being under pressure:

“I’m under pressure every day. But after matches and work, I want to go to my family and have fun with them. We are excited and want to compete. There is great enthusiasm and satisfaction among the fans. I am happy for them!”

Xavi on the causes of previous CL failures:

“It is difficult to talk about all the problems that the team had in the matches between Liverpool and Bayern. But we try not to do this again. Let’s start with a victory over Viktoria Plzen.”

Xavi on Ansu Fati:

“I always talk to him, he is always ready to play and help the team. We continue to work with him.”

Xavi on Alba and Pique’s chances to play tomorrow:

Xavi: “It might happen, and if they don’t play, they might play on Saturday, or in another match.”

Xavi on the change in the team’s mentality:

“I saw a lot of change in the players, even psychologically. Players coming with humility and a desire to win are always positive. We have even evolved mentally.”

Xavi on Dembele’s remarks about being happy now:

“There may have been a little influence from me on that. But I didn’t feel a big change, because from day one he was happy and eager to play. I am not primarily responsible for changing his mindset, he did it himself.”

That concluded Xavi’s press conference.

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