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Xavi: “I am very satisfied today”

Both goalscorers with the match ball / FC Barcelona
Both goalscorers with the match ball / FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona managed to eliminate Galatasaray in the round of 16 of the Europa League. After a comeback from one goal down, goals from Pedri and Aubameyang secured the 1-2 win for the Catalans. The coach and both goalscorers spoke to the press after the match.

Xavi was full of praise for how his players tactically reacted to the challenges presented by the Turkish side:

“It is very difficult to win here. You have to be precise in what you are doing. They were organized in marking us man for man. We had to react better than in the first leg. Be patient, precise, and find the right free man when the chance presents itself. We managed to create a lot and we deserved to score more.”

“I am very satisfied today. We were patient and showed a lot of character. The performance was better than in the first leg. We were mature and decisive enough to score after conceding on tough ground. The atmosphere was one of the most impressive ones I have ever experienced and it made the job much harder.”

“We want to go far in the tournament, although I see Sevilla as more of a favourite than Barca.

He still believes things can be improved upon:

“We still lose too many balls. That hurts us. We have to be more responsible with it.”

The focus is now already shifting towards the looming Clasico clash on Sunday:

“Perhaps the momentum is good for us, but that could mean nothing. Anything can happen. It will be extremely difficult.”

As for Pique and Dest, he is not ruling either out for the match on Sunday.

In the end, he did not miss out on a chance to praise Pedri, who once again showed that he is one of the most important players in the team:

“He scored a spectacular goal. He is capable of this and much more. I cannot give him any more praise. He makes the difference by winning 1v1 situations, he scored when we needed it and remained calm on the ball when we had to keep possession.

The young Spaniard remained graceful and humble even after the showcased ingenuity:

“The truth is that I do not even remember the goal that well. I will have to see the replay. I remember Ferran passing it to me, I faked a shot after seeing a leg, faked it again until I saw a gap to score. I do a lot of things intuitively on the pitch, I am lucky in a way that I do not have to think much. But it is crazy that I could be compared to Messi because of a goal.”

“When they score first, they gain the momentum and it was important to score fast in order to continue calmly. It was already difficult to come here with a 0-0 result from the first leg. The atmosphere was intense. I have never been to a tougher ground before. But we managed to calm it down.”

“We are enjoying our football and it shows. I think we can be deemed the favourites. We will go step by step to see who could still rival us, but we are going to go all the way.”

Aubameyang, the new striker acquisition from the winter transfer window, was also full of praise for his young Spanish teammate:

“Pedri gave us the mental edge with his goal before the second half. It was very important for us. It is crazy that he does not remember it well. Even Messi would be proud to sign under this goal.”

“It was a difficult game. Galatasaray defended well and we lost possession too easily way too many times. We improved in the second half and managed to get the win, which is the most important. If we continue like this, we can reach the final and win it, but we are only thinking about ourselves and how we have to play. When we bring up the intensity, we have a greater chance to win, as we showed in the second half.”

The newbie also spoke about his first month and a half as a Barcelona player and the upcoming Clasico:

“I am working hard, but the most important thing is that I am happy. When you are happy, you are willing to sacrifice everything to help the team.”

“My first Clasico. Let us see. I am happy just to be able to be there and play.”

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