Barcelona Press conferences

Xavi on Ferran Torres: Barça’s shirt weighs a few kilos more

Xavi watches on. Source:

Barça came agonizingly close to beating Napoli on several occasions in the first leg of the Europa League playoff round, but luck was not on the Catalan outfit’s side. Xavi, Piqué, and Eric Garcia spoke after the game of the stadium’s atmosphere, the team’s performance, and the return leg in Naples next Thursday.

Contrary to what the scoreboard would suggest, this evening’s Europa League fixture in the Camp Nou, the first in over 17 years, was a one-sided affair. Barça dominated the game, creating chances throughout the game and suffocating Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli in the process.

Here is what Xavi had to say after the game:

On the result:

“The only thing missing was converting our chances. We generated more than 20 chances, six of them very clear. The fans were behind us the whole game, but the result is not what we wanted. At least we had to win the game. It’s the way to go, but we’re competing in the Europa League, it’s not a friendly match, but I’m very happy with the improvement of the team.”

On the performance:

“It makes me angry that we missed so much, it’s a shame not to have at least a one goal advantage. I’ve been happy with the sensations for days now. Playing like this, we’ll win more than we’ll lose.”

On Ferran Torres:

“I remember in the locker room, it also happened to Suárez in his first games, the Barça shirt weighs a few kilos more. I am delighted to have Ferran Torres, it is a matter of time and belief, he knows that he has our absolute trust. He has to pick himself up, he scored a goal that gave us the draw. It will not affect him. I and the staff will take care of that. He was pissed off with himself.”

On the whistles to Ousmane Dembélé:

“The public did not listen to me, but they decide for themselves. Ousmane has a lot of personality and has transformed the whistles into applause.”

On the Camp Nou’s atmosphere:

“I left a different Camp Nou [in 2015] and now the atmosphere is extraordinary. I had never experienced it at Barça. This also shows that people want to see positive things. There are moments of goosebumps. We are very happy and grateful to the public.”

On Mingueza:

“He was very good, and he plays because he has trained very well. He doesn’t complain and he is a great professional.”

On Aubameyang:

“Auba has a great physical capacity, he pressed, he went into the spaces, also Adama and Ferran. We have a high level in attack.”

Here is what Piqué had to say:

On the result:

“We had many occasions. We could have walked out of here winning 3-1, 4-1 or 5-1. There are games in which it costs us a little more to materialize chances. We missed many. The feeling is good, the result not so much. Everything is open for the second leg.”

On the performance:

“The moment the goals start to go in, they will go in. The feelings are good, if the chances are there they will end up going in. It was a great game against a rival that has a high level, the worst is the result. We would have liked to have a higher margin. Intensity is key. The pressure after losing the ball high up is when you see that the team is plugged in. We played 80% [of the match] in their half. It tells you a lot about the desire of the team to do things well. Playing like this I am convinced that, yes, we can win the Europa League. It is a competition that makes us excited and I hope to win it.”

On Napoli’s goal:

“Eric had to cut off a pass that was going to a player who was offside. It’s a confusing rule and there is no advantage for us. I think he [the referee] should call offside.”

On the whistles to Ousmane Dembélé:

“I don’t know how it will affect him. People are free to demonstrate however they want, but it doesn’t do them any good. I understand that people may be upset, but I would like them to demonstrate at the end of the game. For us it is vital that there are no whistles during the game, because it distracts us.”

Here is what Eric Garcia had to say:

On his level:

“I enjoy playing football. My job is to be focused, give one hundred percent to the team, as I always do and as I always will do for this club. It is clear that there will be days when I will have some small mistakes, hopefully they will be the minimum, but I enjoy doing this. I have to give my one hundred percent every day. I’m very happy.”

On Osimhen’s claim for a penalty in the second half:

“There are a hundred thousand of these in a game, in a game there are many actions like these.”