Xavi talks Lewandowski, Torres, Gundogan, Greenwood ahead of Barcelona vs Getafe


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

After having failed to get a victory in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League tie against Napoli, Xavi and his men will be back in action this Saturday as they take on Getafe.

The Catalans will host the Madrid side at the Montjuic, and will be looking to get the full three points to further reduce the gap with the second-placed Girona and the first-placed Real Madrid in La Liga.

In the last few days, Xavi has been able to recover some of his injured players, but important players like Ferran Torres, Gavi, and Alejandro Balde still remain unavailable.

This injury front and some other problems being faced by the team were the subject of multiple questions addressed by Xavi in the press conference ahead of this match. The main highlights of this presser are as follows:

Xavi started the press conference by previewing the match against Getafe, and had some good words to say about his upcoming opponents:

“We play at home and we need the fans, we need their support. Tomorrow is a very important match against Getafe, they are very well coached by Bordalás. They’re not a defensive team, for me, they’re a brave team with a very high defensive line.”

“They’ve taken points at the Metropolitano and always compete. They’re a tough opponent, but these are three very important points for the title race in the league.”

Lewandowski has been able to turn around his form in the last few days, as he scored goals against both Celta Vigo and Napoli. Xavi identified the key reasons for this turn of form:

“Robert’s performance is a consequence of the team’s improvement. He’s better positioned, and we attack and defend in a more organized way. Perhaps he’s being more effective, but it’s the result of us being better positioned.”

The Barcelona gaffer did not seem likely to be making a lot of changes for this match:

“We’ll see how everyone arrives. We hardly have time to rest, and it’s time for the best players to play. We won’t make many changes. It’s a crucial match for the remainder of the league.”

The head coach was not giving up on the fight to win La Liga just yet, despite being significantly behind the league leaders:

“We’ll fight for LaLiga until it’s mathematically impossible. We can’t afford to fail at home. Tomorrow is very important to try to shorten the gap, but we know it’s complicated.”

“We have a week to rest until next Sunday. In case of a victory, we would sleep in second position, and it would be good to put pressure on Girona and Madrid.”

Xavi also praised his Getafe counterpart ahead of the match:

“I won’t talk about referees anymore. Regarding Bordalás, I like his aggressiveness, and he’s getting a lot of performance from his teams. They press you very high up the pitch, and we’ll have to do things very well to escape the pressure. They’re getting good results, and it’s commendable.”

The team will have to play with a short break after having faced Napoli on Wednesday, but Xavi was not too much complaining about the tight schedule:

“It would be better for us to play on Sunday, but we’ve been given this schedule and there are no excuses. We have two and a half days to rest, and we will compete tomorrow.”

“The team is ready to compete. We have little time to recover, but tomorrow we will compete as always. The players have taken a step forward with their performance.”

Although he did not have any certain date for Torres’ return, Xavi clarified that the winger was feeling good at the moment: “Let’s see how he feels, which for now are good. I can’t give you an exact date.”

Xavi also identified one of the main threats that Getafe would be putting in his way: “Getafe takes advantage of any set-piece situation and transitions, but I don’t think Getafe will sit back. They will maintain a high defensive line. I don’t see Getafe being defensive.”

Several Barcelona players are on the verge of suspension as they have already accumulated four yellow cards. But Xavi was rather calm in this aspect:

“We try not to think about it. When they come, they’ll come. We can’t dwell on that. We have to compete in the best way possible and try not to accumulate more yellow cards. We need to win the three points, which would mean a lot to us.”

The gaffer also mentioned one quality that he would want to see in his successor at Barcelona: “I don’t know. In the end, it’s Deco and the president who have to decide. He should have Barça DNA.”

The former midfielder once again justified his decision to leave at the end of the season: “I think the decision is the right one. The team needs a change at the end of the season. I see it positively that the team has taken a step forward. We are playing better football.”

Xavi also provided an update on Romeu’s position, and analysed Christensen’s performance in the midfield:

“Oriol has had some discomfort lately. He is following a plan to be one hundred percent. Andreas is providing us with defensive balance. We’ve had more control and dominance with Andreas in this position.”

Araujo has been linked with a move away from Barcelona in recent weeks, but Xavi had no doubts that he was a key player for the Catalans:

“For me, there’s no doubt. Araujo is the present and future of Barça. He’s already one of the captains and a leader in the dressing room. He’s a fundamental player for the club’s future.”

The head-coached mentioned that while Greenwood is having a very good season at Getafe, his team will not take any special steps to counter his threat:

“We won’t do anything special. He’s a player we have to keep an eye on. Getafe has very good individual players. Milla, Mayoral is scoring goals, and Greenwood is making a difference.”

Xavi also analyzed what went wrong in the game against Napoli: “Physically, we are very well, perhaps it was a bit of a mental issue. We should have calmed the game down, and Napoli dominated us in those ten minutes. It wasn’t a physical issue.”

Gundogan’s differential performances were also discussed by Xavi in this presser: “He can make a difference from the base of the midfield. He’s making a difference, not just in numbers. He’s a fundamental player for us.”

Similarly, the head coach also had some good words to say about Joao Cancelo: “He’s playing very well, and his contribution is fantastic. Sometimes he’s too high up, but it also brings him closer to me. I’m happy with Joao’s performance.”

To end the presser, Xavi displayed satisfaction in how the team has reacted after his announcement to leave after this season, but also had a warning for his players:

“Words need to be backed up by actions. We need to perform, and I think the team has reacted very well. We can’t afford to falter in any match if we want to compete for La Liga and the Champions League. These are three fundamental points to keep us in the race.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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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