Xavi talks Roque, Christensen, Yamal, Pedri, Gundogan after Alaves 1-3 Barcelona

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Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi is pictured sitting on the bench prior to the Spanish league football match between Deportivo Alaves and FC Barcelona at the Mendizorroza stadium in Vitoria on February 3, 2024.
Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

Any win for FC Barcelona at this stage of the season is crucial, but even more so in difficult conditions. Xavi’s side reacted as they needed to against Luis Garcia’s Alaves side, and came away with a convincing 3-1 victory. Despite facing early pressure, Barcelona slowly got much more comfortable in the game.

After the match, as highlighted by SPORT, Xavi was asked to comment about his side’s performance and some key individual moments. From Vitor Roque’s suspension, to the sensation of the victory itself for Barcelona and also some possible injuries, the head coach addressed all the various concerns.

First and foremost, the Barcelona coach managed to put the sensation of the victory in very simple terms: “Winning is always positive. Two victories after making the decision, perfect.”

Xavi, talking about the requirements of the match, highlighted the physical demands and positive reaction from his team: “It was a very demanding, highly physical field, requiring concentration for the full 90 minutes. It’s the reaction I expected from the team. We’re there. It’s time to praise the group.”

Proud of his team, Xavi complimented his own Barcelona side as well as reflecting on the match itself. Talking about the difficult conditions they had to take on, the coach seems content with how his team fought:

“The match was highly competitive; the team fought hard; it was a real workhorse game. Mendizorroza demanded that. We performed well with and without the ball. This result strengthens us.”

Xavi also made sure to credit Andreas Christensen’s display as a pivot. An experimental role, but one that the coach seems to be happy with:

“Regarding Christensen’s position? Victory always proves you right… But he was comfortable, didn’t lose balls, was aggressive, combined well… We’ve gained discipline. He’s a very competitive player. He can play inside perfectly.”

Speaking about Vitor Roque’s controversial second yellow card, the Barcelona manager confirmed that the club is going to appeal his sending off:

“We’re going to appeal Vitor’s second yellow; it’s another referee mistake against us. It gives a goal, he has attacking ability… His expulsion is unjust.”

Staying on the topic of talented youngsters, Xavi made sure to highlight Lamine Yamal and his immense performance:

“Lamine is a phenomenal talent. Very few appear in these conditions. He has it all and works for the team. He has the humility to work, and his natural talent is phenomenal.”

Making sure to end on a positive note, the Barcelona coach dispelled the worries about Ilkay Gundogan and Pedri, both of whom many feared were injured in this game as they came off:

“There’s no injury for Pedri or Gundogan. Pedri was fatigued, and Fermin came in to provide fresh legs, and Gundo had back discomfort.”

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