Xavi talks Ferran, Roque, Lewandowski, Fermin after Barcelona 1-0 Osasuna

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Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi claps during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and CA Osasuna at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on January 31, 2024.
Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

The win over CA Osasuna comes at a great time for FC Barcelona given their current predicament. With Xavi set to depart at the end of the season, the team continues to defend the badge and their coach. As such, this 1-0 victory for Barcelona is one that is worth more than just three points.

After the game, as highlighted by SPORT, Barcelona coach Xavi also spoke about the game. He also made sure to highlight individuals who deserved praise and talked about the team’s collective approach and momentum moving forward.

Addressing the game itself, Xavi defended his Barcelona team, but also left some room for self-criticism:

“The team hasn’t been bad. We suffered more than necessary because we had the 2-0 on many occasions. We lacked control when we went ahead. Three important points. We reacted well, kept a clean sheet… We need to improve.”

Highlight Vitor Roque’s goal as an important moment, the Barcelona coach was clearly in awe of the Brazilian’s input in the game following his arrival:

“Vitor Roque’s goal is very important. Strikers need it, and he has freed himself. You saw the celebration because he had several chances and hadn’t been lucky. He makes good runs, doesn’t complicate things… works hard, and this goal will help him in the future.”

Speaking about Robert Lewandowski, Xavi remains clear about where he wants the Barcelona ace whenever the team attacks, and what he needs to do to be effective again:

“We talked a lot with Lewandowski this week. He has to be in the box because he’s one of the best finishers in the world. We have a very important possession game, and he must maintain that position. His goal was disallowed, and he needs to score to regain confidence. He will continue to be important.”

Highlighting the more technical details of the team as a collective unit, the Barcelona coach gave an insight into what he expected from and told his players:

“I asked for better competition, not to be so vulnerable in transitions, and today they generated fewer. We were very good in surveillance, recovered more balls in the opponent’s half. We wanted order in attack and defense, and we found it.”

For the Barcelona head coach, the performance even after Osasuna went down a man was convincing enough to please him:

“We have to demand more from ourselves. When they are down to ten, it’s the moment to possess the ball and maintain the position. I’m happy because the evolution is good.”

Talking about his two young substitutes, Xavi was full of praise: “Fermín and Vitor have given us a lot. Both attacked spaces, and we generated chances to win more comfortably.”

Moreover, the Barcelona coach gave props to both his players and the club fans. He complimented the extra effort they put in, and the reception they received:

“I had no doubt about the players’ commitment. My decision was to provoke a reaction. The fans’ reaction was a lesson in being Barcelona fans. I had no doubt that if the players could give a little extra, they would.”

However, the coach highlighted that the game got to a nervous point after the first goal: “I experienced a lot of tension and nerves today because when they were down to ten, it was the moment to go for the 2-0. The tension made us suffer more.”

Lastly, Xavi also talked about the injury to Ferran Torres. The Spaniard had to be replaced within the first five minutes, and his loss is understandably a big blow:

“Ferran’s situation is unfortunate. We rested him on the last day because he had played many high-intensity matches and was fatigued. He was in good form, and his absence will be felt. In 28 days, we’ve had nine matches and travels in between. It’s a matter of the schedule.”

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