Xavi talks Balde, Raphinha, Kounde ahead of Barcelona vs Sevilla

Xavi during the pre-match press conference

Xavi spoke about a change in the system, playing 4 midfielders, Balde’s illness, Pablo Torre playing with Barca Atlètic, Kounde playing at right-back, Balde’s progression, the role of Raphinha and the progress of Ansu Fati in his pre-match press conference ahead of the match against Sevilla.

Xavi on the match against Sevilla:

“Sevilla is a difficult opponent despite their tough situation. They have a great coach who works very well on the defensive aspect. Physically they are very tough.”

Xavi on changing his system:

“We also played great games with two winger system. It depends on the players and how they react after losing the ball. It’s not about the system, it’s about the players.”

Xavi on playing with 4 midfielders:

“Frenkie, Pedri, Gavi, and Busquets are the players who lose the least balls, so in this system, with 4 midfielders there are fewer chances of transition.”

Xavi on Busquets’ continuity:

“It’s his personal decision. We are waiting for his decision and we’ll respect it.”

Xavi on Pablo Torre playing with B team:

“He hasn’t played recently and he needs minutes, which he will get in the subsidiary. I spoke with the players and told them to be calm. We want to compete for every trophy. We are Barca and we will compete even in training, this is essential. We are on the right track.”

Xavi on the absence of Dembele:

“Without Dembélé, we somewhat lose the 1v1 power in our team. He’s the best player when it comes to 1v1s. However, we have other great players like Raphinha, Ferran, or Ansu.”

Xavi on Frenkie de Jong:

“For me, Frenkie has always been essential. He has incredible potential to play for Barcelona and that’s why he’s one of the most used players by me.”

Xavi on Alejandro Balde:

“Doctors told me that he’ll be fine for the match. We have been surprised by the evolution of Balde. He’s playing at a spectacular level.”

Xavi on Ansu Fati:

“Things will work out for him. We have to be patient with him. We trust him a lot and he is working very well with a tremendous mentality.”

Xavi on the objections to Raphinha’s goal:

“The campaign to protest Raphinha’s goal against Real Betis makes me laugh, we’ve had campaigns like this before.”

Xavi on Raphinha:

“Raphinha always brings something different. He is an exceptional player, who works for the team. I trust Rafa a lot.”

Xavi on being solid defensively in La Liga:

“Defensively, we are solid in La Liga. This is not the case in the Cup but we are improving. Ter Stegen is exceptional in goal, and everyone else also defend fully. It is important to mention that even though Lewandowski was suspended for 3 games, we won those games.”

Xavi on Kounde playing at right-back:

“He is a center-back but he adapts well at right-back too. He is playing at the top level. Jules has adapted at right-back but I know his primary position is at center-back.”

Xavi on winning the league with 100 points:

“I don’t care about reaching 100 points in the league. The only thing I care about is winning the league, even if it means by achieving it with only 70 points and I think Real Madrid are still strong despite being 5 points behind us.”

That concluded Xavi’s press conference.

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