Xavi talks Ansu, Gavi, and Marcos Alonso ahead of Elche

 

Barcelona Head Coach Xavi Hernández getting into the field during the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Bayern München and FC Barcelona at Allianz Arena on September 13, 2022 in Munich, Germany.

Xavi has spoken to reporters ahead of Barcelona’s next game on Saturday at home to Elche in La Liga.

The Barcelona boss was asked a LOT of questions about Ansu Fati but also spoke about several other players as well as his side’s chances against Elche.

Here are the best bits:

Xavi on Elche

They made our lives difficult last season. They have changed up their system with a new coach. They are not doing great in terms of the standings but they are a physical opponent. We understand the system they use, they are very versatile. They know how to keep the ball. It’s an important game after losing against Bayern. We want to get back to winning ways.

Xavi on Gavi

I’m very happy with the renewal of Gavi. It was the news I was waiting for. He’s important for the present and future. He’s got a great character, he has so much passion. He gives us so much, intensity and the way he plays. He can play any system that I want. He’s spectacular, can play in different positions. He’s matured in terms of timing, understanding, breaking lines, he used to lose more balls but now he’s fluid. He’s 18 and I think he’s taken a step forward.

Xavi on Ansu Fati

He’s good. We have a plan with him with a lot of precaution. We want to make sure he’s feeling good. We are taking things little be little. It’s perhaps my fault the way we are managing him. He’s making a difference. He’s a very important player for us. His intensity and rhythm, maybe he needs to increase that a little. It’s a difficult situation to handle. The way we want to play, we need players to be 100% fit, but he’s doing things well.

Xavi on Ansu Fati part 2

Sometimes he will play, something not. For better or worse it’s my decision. But I’ve decided that I need to take a lot of precaution and be prudent with him. I’m not going to do things quickly. We want to be cautious. It has nothing to do with physical or mental aspects. We have a specific plan. I love how he plays. But there are other players too and we will decide based on intensity and rhythm but he will play a lot. It’s nothing to do with his mental state.

Xavi on how is Ansu Fati?

I speak a lot with him. Last week we had an in-depth chat. I listened to him, told him my thoughts. We often have meetings with the players. We need to understand what motivates them, what they are not so happy about. Ansu is a special case for me. Now he’s fit we need to see how things evolve and also the competition he has in his position.

Xavi on if Ansu should play the World Cup

That doesn’t depend on me. Me and Luis Enrique have a great relationship. Yes we speak about it. We talk about his situation, nothing more. There’s not much going on here. He’s going to be playing you’ll see.

Xavi on Barcelona going top this weekend

We need to play our game tomorrow and then we’ll see the other results. We will be watching the other games, particularly games like the Madrid derby. We are focused on beating Elche, leaving with good sensations. We need to win. We want the three points. It won’t be easy, everyone expects the win. First let’s focus on us and then we’ll look at the league. If Madrid drops points then that’s good for us.

Xavi on plans for international break

I think this break is good, we haven’t had one since pre-season. It’ll be a break more for the staff then the players. I think 90% of the squad will leave. But we have a game every three days after so we’ll need all the players to be fit.

Xavi on goal celebrations

Everybody celebrates goals the way they want to. When you score a goal you are euphoric and everyone does what they want. The way I celebrated was with my teammates because that’s how I saw the game. I’d hug the first teammate I saw. I don’t think it has anything to do with a lack of respect for the opponent.

Xavi on Gavi’s renewal taking time

I understood the situation. I spoke with Gavi. I have a great relationship with his agent. Gavi’s intention was always to continue with Barca. This was his decision. That’s what he wanted. He needs to continue to be competitive, to show his personality. I think he’s a key player for the squad. I want to take care of him, make sure he’s happy here, because he will be very important for the future.

Xavi on Bayern

I’m still upset because when you look at the game and how we played, we need to win that game. It’s a shame. What we did in their stadium was to pick up the three points, not even a draw. When you look at what we missed, efficiency, it came down to details. Football is decided on details. We must learn from these mistakes. I’m still upset about it but that’s it.

Xavi on Barca wearing white - do you like it?

We’ve done it before but it’s not official yet! When it’s official you can ask me about it.

Xavi on if Lucho discussed leaving Ansu out with him

You guys clearly don’t know Luis! He decides for himself. We have a great relationship but he decides for himself. I know him very well, admire him very much, as a manager and as a person. It’s his decision. 100%

Xavi on Ferran Torres

I have a lot of trust in Ferran. People shouldn’t just take into account the goals he scores, but his intensity, rhythm, the press, how he plays with his teammates. He assists, scores, that’s what I want to see. He’s an important player for me and for the team.

Xavi on Dembele

I don’t decide the France team either! I’m happy for him. He deserves it. He’s playing very well. He works for the team. He’s at a high level. What you want as a manager is to make sure that your players are working well and improving and that’s the case.

Xavi on Marcos Alonso

He played a great game. I think he was at a high level. He was excellent, interpreting their play, defending one on one, incorporating in attack, passing, crossing. Continuity will be difficult because we play every three days and we will have to rotate. There will be a lot of rotations this season but he will be important for the team.

Xavi on Alex Collado

I think right now he’s having a positive time there. He’s scored, is playing many minutes. He could help us add quality in the future. So that’s why he’s out on loan. He has a lot of capabilities, he has a good shot, he can play between the lines. He’s changed his mentality and improved. I wish him the best, maybe not so much tomorrow!

Xavi on if Barca can beat Bayern at the Camp Nou

Yes of course. I think we can beat any team but we have to show it. At half-time we were feeling good but we have to translate that into goals and we didn’t do that.

Xavi Pablo Torre

We have decided to talk to Pablo during the break. We’ll decide then if he goes down or stays with us. He is a player who needs minutes. Right now we don’t know.

 

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