Xavi talks Gundogan, Araujo, La Liga, UCL ahead of Barcelona vs Real Madrid

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CADIZ, SPAIN - APRIL 13: Xavi, Head Coach of FC Barcelona, arrives at the stadium prior to the LaLiga EA Sports match between Cadiz CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla on April 13, 2024 in Cadiz, Spain.
Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

After their bitter defeat to Paris Saint Germain in the UEFA Champions League, FC Barcelona have the chance to get the mood of their fans back high as they face Real Madrid in La Liga this Sunday.

A win in this match will raise the spirits of the dressing room as well, but a defeat will be a disaster for the Catalans as it would almost ensure that they are ending the current season without any trophy.

Irrespective of the form or the consequences, El Clasico always brings out the best of both Barcelona and Real Madrid. The traditional rivalry between the two sides means winning this match will mean a lot for Xavi and Barcelona, even if the Catalans do not end up winning anything at the end of the season.

Xavi has talked to the media ahead of this crucial league match, and addressed several questions from the journalists related to the club, the team, and himself.

The main highlights from this presser are as follows:

Xavi started the press conference by praising his upcoming rivals, Real Madrid, for their performance against Manchester City in the Champions League:

“Madrid had to defend against City, which is the best team in the world today. They had to defend and defended very well. These are situations that need to be mastered and they also know how to do it. In the first half against us, they did well. They have potential, they know how to attack, make transitions.”

While some commentators have attributed Madrid’s victory over City to sheer luck, Xavi believed it was much more than just good fortune that allowed the Merengues to advance to the semi-finals of the tournament:

“They’ve won many times because they’re very good. I don’t believe so much in luck. I believe in work, in the team, it’s not a coincidence. Madrid, in the last three years, have eliminated the best team in the world twice.”

After Barcelona’s defeat to PSG in the UCL quarter-finals, Xavi staying at the club beyond this summer is looking highly unlikely. The Barcelona trainer revealed to the media that there has not yet been a meeting scheduled to discuss his future at the club:

“There’s no meeting. I haven’t been summoned. I’m not the important one. Tomorrow we play for the title. We have to win. We’re playing for the league.”

Being eight points behind Real Madrid in the league table, the Barcelona head coach fully understood the importance of winning this match: “It’s the most important match. We have to win to put pressure on. If we win, we’d be five points away.”

Overall, Xavi was quite confident that his team will be able to get the victory against the league leaders: “They’ve lost a game out of 31, we don’t have bad numbers either. I see it as an opportunity to get closer. We want to compete.”

The locker room has been rocked following the defeat to Paris Saint Germain, especially with Gundogan’s comments criticizing his own teammates. But Xavi was confident that there were no problems in the locker room: “When there’s no ill intent, there’s no problem. It’s settled.”

A defeat in this El Clasico would virtually mean an end to Barcelona’s defense of the league title. However, the former midfielder was not thinking about such a possibility too much: “I think about a positive scenario, about winning. My thinking is positive. We’re going out to win the match.”

The Barcelona head coach believed that Real Madrid would be the more worn-out team going into this game: “It’s more to consider for them. We arrive well and I think we are prepared. I don’t think fatigue will affect us too much.”

While Xavi complained about the referee following the defeat to PSG, he was not too keen to discuss this subject in this presser: “Talking about referees doesn’t help me. I hope he goes unnoticed and gets all the decisions right.”

The former midfielder also rued his team’s defeat to PSG despite the favorable position they had gotten into earlier in the tie

“That’s why I should have controlled my frustration more. There’s a lot of tension, you see the injustice. We don’t minimize the mistakes and it cost us. The situation was favorable and we let it slip away.”

“We weren’t good. We made mistakes, I also made mistakes. We have to be self-critical. We will return to the Champions League and compete again.”

The Barcelona head coach was clear pressing well will win integers for Barcelona in this crucial match:

“They must help a lot in defense and in attack. You are the free man and superiority. Raphinha has adapted very well to this position. We have several options for this position. We will see.”

The defeat to PSG has naturally led to a declined morale at Barcelona, while Real Madrid’s win over Manchester City has boosted their confidence. However, Xavi was hopeful his team can use the previous result in its favor and show a lot of anger and desire in this match:

“We have to change our mindset. That anger, frustration, and helplessness from the other day, we have to turn it in our favor. We have a strong Real Madrid in front of us, morally reinforced after this week in the Champions League.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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