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Xavi: “Gavi and Nico have what it takes for the first team”

Xavi during a press conference/ SPORT
Xavi during a press conference/ SPORT

Xavi spoke at a press conference before FC Barcelona faces Granada in La Liga tomorrow. He was questioned about Ferran Torres, Ansu and his injury, the opposition, the upcoming Clasico, and more.

On Granada:

“The match tomorrow is important for us. Granada is in a good run of form and so are we. The two victories helped us increase confidence. Our goal is to enter the places leading into the Champions League and we must achieve that. We have a chance to demonstrate that we are slowly rising tomorrow.”

On Ansu and his physical status:

“He is well. The question remains whether he will be ready tomorrow and enter for a couple of minutes, but we do not want to risk it. He will be available for the Super Cup match. He has been training well and he will help us a lot. But he has to be at 100%. We do not want to take risks and he needs to be physically well prepared, so we want to keep him healthy for the Super Cup.”

On registration of Ferran Torres:

“At the moment he is still positive for Covid, as his PCR showed today. He will not be available tomorrow. Mateu Alemany is working on his registration. We are confident that it is possible. It depends on the salary and some outgoings.”

On the Super Cup Clasico:

“We are currently focused on Granada. We have to prepare without thinking too much about Madrid. The only issue is Ansu, as he is not physically ready yet. The problem with the last matches was that I had limited selection and the lineup was not really up for any changes. It is a pity we have to adhere to the rule of always playing with 7 first-team players. My choices were very limited. We are finally recovering some players for tomorrow and the Super Cup. The team that trained today was almost complete.”

On facing Athletic Club in Copa del Rey:

“Every week itself is important. We move one at a time and we are in the round of 16 because we won this week. We have not been lucky as they are a difficult opponent, led by one of the best Spanish coaches in Marcelino. We also play at their home stadium. It is always tough against them, but we will do everything to proceed to the next round. We face each challenge at 100%, fight for every title and I perceive every match as a final. Tomorrow we have a huge game, which could help us climb in the table. “

On Coutinho departing and Umtiti:

“Philippe wanted to have minutes and that says a lot about him. He lowered his salary and showed he is an exemplary professional. As for Samuel, we will see. I have no complaints against him. Everyone gives their best.”

On Gavi and Nico getting promoted to the first team:

“The decision will come soon. Gavi and Nico are a part of the present. Gavi is a Spain international and a starter at that. It would not make sense for him to play in the B team. Nico is already three-quarters on the way there. Abde too. They are all very important to the squad. It would be important to have them with a first-team number, but we have to look at the salary limit.”

On Robert Moreno:

“I have very fond memories of Robert. We won the treble with Luis Enrique together. I remember a lot of things and I am very grateful to him. Every member of the staff was fantastic. We created a great atmosphere among us, although the beginning was tough. The story came out in January, but in the end, we won the treble. Robert is a fantastic coach and I am glad he is doing well at Granada.”

On Dembele:

“The other day he played under tough circumstances as he was just recovering from Covid. We needed him and he showed up. He had a great attitude and made a difference. He will continue to be a member of the squad and help us.”

On Abde and Balde:

“Abde already tested negative and will be able to train today. We put specific plans in place for the players to return as fast as possible. Maybe either Abde or Balde can help us tomorrow.”

On winning the last couple of matches:

“Winning is always good. When you win, you look better and there is not much criticism. We have to win tomorrow also. Barça cannot allow themselves to draw or lose, but it happens. Granada will be strong tomorrow, they are in great dynamics and have a good coach, but winning will boost our morale even more. Winning is always hard, it helps morale and the qualification of course.”

On Collado:

“I would love to always see him play, as he is our player and has a lot of promise. The pity is that we have not been able to register him due to bureaucratic issues. He would help us a lot. Too bad we cannot use him. Tomorrow we will play against him. He deserves the chances and the goal is for him to return in June. He will showcase his talent for sure.”

On competing with Madrid:

“I am sure we will compete. We have only been inferior to Bayern so far. We were better against Sevilla and other opponents. The players are slowly getting to understand what I want from them, but we still need time and patience. We are on the right track.”

On this season:

“We are trying to fight for the titles. When I took over, the team was not in a good place, but we are slowly improving. I think we are on the right track and we will see how we fare in the upcoming matches. I see how the team trains and I am optimistic about it. I like to think we are on the right track.”

On his plan:

“As Barça, we are facing opponents in low blocks and we are working on different solutions to such problems. We have different variations of attacking the space.”

On Dani Alves:

“In Linares, the objective was to attack in a 3-4-3, and Dani gave us a lot of versatility as a fullback, interior, or even as a part of a double pivot. We used him in the buildup phase this time, but we have other alternatives.”

On Jutgla:

“Ferran is giving us a lot of things. He is a mature player and understands the positional play very well. He knows when to attack the space and when to come short. Even if he did not score the goals he did, he would still be very useful. His positioning is always great. I am very satisfied with him.”

On Araujo:

“He broke two fingers. It will be hard for him to feature in the Super Cup.”

On Memphis:

“He is great. He has tremendous predispositions and is always very involved. If all goes well, we hope to have him on disposal tomorrow.”