Xavi talks Cubarsi, Yamal, Christensen, Cancelo after Barcelona 1-0 Mallorca

Date:

BILBAO, SPAIN - MARCH 03: Xavi, Head Coach of FC Barcelona, looks on prior to the LaLiga EA Sports match between Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona at Estadio de San Mames on March 03, 2024 in Bilbao, Spain.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

While Xavi Hernandez was not able to oversee the FC Barcelona vs Mallorca match from the sidelines, he still would have left the stands happy last night as his team was able to get a much-needed win.

Lamine Yamal scored the only goal of the match that was highly open and could have ended up either way. Gundogan missed a penalty in the first half, but luckily, that miss did not come back to haunt the Blaugranes.

After the match, Xavi continued with his usual responsibilities as he talked to the media and reviewed the game. SPORT has reported the main highlights of this press conference, as Xavi once again rued the lack of effectiveness from his team in front of goal:

“Effectiveness marks everything; we’ve suffered because we missed the penalty, which I believe would have changed the game.”

Still, Xavi also recognized that this was a difficult game for his forwards because of how the opposition team plays: “It wasn’t a match with 10 chances, but rather 4 or 5, as Mallorca creates many difficulties with their backline of five.”

The 17-year-old Pau Cubarsi was once again instrumental as Barcelona kept Mallorca attackers at bay. Xavi was full of praise for the young defender’s performance:

“If I had to define it in one word, I would say hierarchical, tremendous, it’s spectacular what he’s done, he’s a very intelligent player, knows how to clash when needed, it’s spectacular. Above all, the hierarchy with which he plays doesn’t seem like he’s 17 years old.”

Similarly, another very young forward was also differential as he scored the only goal of the game, and thus gave victory to Barcelona. This was the winger Lamine Yamal, for whom Xavi also had a lot of praise in store:

“He’s a game-changer. Today, when he wasn’t performing as well in one-on-one situations and wasn’t having his best day, he cut inside and scored a fantastic goal, thus once again making the difference with a goal he created himself.”

Overall, Xavi was well satisfied with his team’s performance in this match, and did not want to comment on the negatives:

“Let’s not look for negatives that don’t exist. Lamine and Cubarsí are exceptional and could define an era, but the rest haven’t been bad either. Christensen played very well, and Cancelo competed wonderfully.”

“Iñigo defended very well, and Ter Stegen is always key. I don’t see any negatives in the young players standing out.”

The Barcelona head coach was clear that such a victory against a strong opposition will boost his side’s morale ahead of the Napoli match:

“The absences are important but they are not excuses. We have to get through this tie; we will have the support of our fans, and we need a full stadium. I am always optimistic, and this victory gives us morale. I believe today it has been seen again that my decision about the future has been positive; we are competing well.”

Lastly, Xavi also clarified that while some of the players received knocks in this match, none of them suffered any injury: “Today they received knocks, but we finished without any injuries; they will be ready for the Napoli match.”

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari has been covering Spanish football as a writer for Barca News Network for the last one and a half year and as an amateur football fanatic for more than 10 years. He mainly covers on and off-field happenings taking place at Barcelona including transfer news, administrative changes, match reports, and any other eventful news coming out of the club.

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