Xavi talks Lewandowski, Roque, Yamal, Cubarsi, Araujo after Celta 1-2 Barcelona


Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi addresses a press conference at the Joan Gamper training ground in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on January 30, 2024.
Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Xavi Hernandez was relieved of some of the pressure last night as his FC Barcelona team was able to get a win against Celta de Vigo. However, the team needed a penalty in injury time to get this victory, and there were several questions raised about the team’s performance in the second half.

But despite these difficulties, Xavi was satisfied with his team getting the full three points. The Barcelona head coach made this clear when talking to the media after the game, as has been reported by Mundo Deportivo:

“The victory came in an agonizing way, suffering, but it is welcome because of the involvement of all the players and the team’s effort. In terms of attitude, aggressiveness, and personality, I cannot reproach anything to the players.”

Overall, Xavi was satisfied with his side’s performance, but admitted that the second half had left a lot to be desired:

“The first half was good and the second, not so much. The victory is very good for morale; we did more good things than bad, dominating in the first half, preventing Celta’s transitions, but in the second, we suffered more, and this season we are accustomed to winning like this.”

Xavi was clear that the team has taken a step forward after the draw against Granada in their last match:

“The team is much better defensively and well-positioned to attack. We competed better than against Granada. I believe we have taken a step forward, but we still need to keep a clean sheet and improve our attacking play in the final third of the field. In that regard, I’ve been told that according to Big Data, we would be leading in terms of chances created.”

Xavi analyzed how Celta were able to score the goal at the start of the second half:

“The 1-1 was a disarray due to Iñigo’s position, who had just come on; it was a very simple wall pass that left a dangerous player like Iago Aspas alone. It’s a clear defensive error of not being concentrated, in line with the whole season. Today it doesn’t cost us points, it remains anecdotal, and we shouldn’t dwell on it; we should focus on the victory.”

One player that the Barcelona head coach picked out for particular praise was the striker, Robert Lewandowski:

“Robert is very plugged in, like the whole team; it’s exciting to see the unity and commitment of all the players despite what is said outside. Lewandowski is playing better; he doesn’t leave his zone, has taken a spectacular step forward, and has had the personality to retake the penalty because the goalkeeper advanced.”

The former midfielder once again explained how his announcement of the decision to leave the club was already benefitting Barcelona:

“It’s 10 points out of 12 possible since I announced my decision to leave the bench in June. I already said that it would be good for the team, and that’s how it’s turning out.”

Xavi also analyzed the performances of three youngsters, i.e., Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsi, and Vitor Roque:

“He [Roque] did well, but he lacked clarity in the final third, like the whole team… He’s [Yamal] very important, he makes a difference, like Cubarsí. We win games with very young players.”

The Barcelona head coach also had a lot of sympathy for his opponents: “It’s true that Celta has had terrible misfortune this season, I told Benítez, they deserve more points than they have.”

Lastly, the Barcelona gaffer also explained the decision to substitute Araujo around half-time: “It’s not an injury, it’s discomfort. He told us he had a bad feeling before halftime, so we decided to substitute him at the last minute for Iñigo Martínez.”

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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