Inigo Martinez was one of the players who joined FC Barcelona in the last summer window, and after a slow start to life at Barcelona, the defender has been rewarded for his perseverance and hard work.
The center-back is gradually becoming an important player for Xavi, as he has started four of the last five games. His performances with Barcelona have also earned him a call-up to the Spanish national team, and he will be playing with the national team against Georgia this Sunday.
As SPORT has reported, the Spaniard appeared in an interview recently, and a significant part of this interview was concerned with Xavi’s performance and coaching style.
Xavi recently claimed in a press conference that media’s criticism can end up hurting the team, and this subject also arose in the defender’s interview, to which Martinez responded:
“We have many young players who have a lot to learn and experience, like Lamine at just 16 years old. It won’t be easy to shield them from influences that might affect them. There will be times when they make mistakes and times when they won’t.”
“We always need to support young players; they are inexperienced and still learning. We have to try to calm these things down and keep them focused. They contribute a lot and will continue to do so.”
Owing to the recent run of poor form, Xavi has come under increased pressure, and there have even been murmurs of him being replaced in the Barcelona dugout. Martinez, however, believed Xavi is a good coach and will improve even further this season:
“Nobody doubts his level of commitment, how good a coach he is. He was a great player, and as a coach, he will be too. Last year went well, and we’re going for more: That’s the goal.”
Martinez had played with Xavi in the Spanish national team early in his career, and the defender was also asked about the differences between him being as a player and as a coach:
“Changes always happen. As a coach, you have to make many decisions; you’re the head of the locker room and have to handle it. Xavi has always been normal, natural, and continues to be the same. He hasn’t changed much.”
Lastly, Martinez also responded to Xavi being labeled as a soft coach:
“Like everything, I repeat, when you win, other things are talked about. Xavi speaks up when he needs to, without a doubt. He’s a great coach, no one doubts that. Support is needed at all times, and the situation will change. Here, the important thing is to win, regardless of good or bad games. Better moments in the game will come.”
Thus, Martinez seems to have full confidence in Xavi. Hopefully, he can contribute to bringing in some positive results in the upcoming games and thus relieve the head coach from some of the pressure that he is currently facing.