Barcelona First team, English Press conferences

Xavi: This is supposed to be a Champions League clash

Cadena SER

Xavi and Pedri faced the press ahead of Thursday’s crucial game against Napoli in the Europa League. Where they talked about, the upcoming game, memories in the Europa League, Xavi’s first 100 days, and a lot more.

Here’s what Xavi had to say:

Message to the fans:

“The message is clear, this is a good opportunity for us. We need the fans and we expect a great turnout, like the one against Atlético. We were not lucky with the draw, because we got Napoli. This is supposed to be a Champions League clash.”

Eric Garcia:

“For me he is a very good center back, he knows he made a mistake. He was in great form but then an injury occured. We must reignite him because he is an important player and we are not blessed with options. He has to return to the level he was.”

His first 100 days:

“It feels like it has been 100 years, because unexpected situations have happened, COVID, winter market. You know that I am a culé and I am trying to get Barca back to where it deserves, but there is work. It’s not the best time for the club, not even economically. We are climbing up the league table, that tells us that we are on the right track and the results say so too.”

Barca favourites in the Europa League:

“I wouldn’t say favourites, we face a complicated rival. Sevilla has much more experience than we do in this competition. I see ourselves as candidates, not as favourites.”

“The former champions were very good; Villareal, Sevilla. It’s not the Champions League but it is a very good competition. We are motivated.”

Rotations:

“I don’t have a fixed 11, everyone works. Almost all players have had minutes, with so many games it is not possible to have a fixed lineup.”

“Tomorrow may be a good day to rest Busquets. Sunday was evidence that he can’t play every game. There will be changes but we will try to remain competitive.”

Whether Barca and PSG are at the same level:

“I don’t know. Our reality is the Europa League and we have to prove ourselves against Napoli. We had the opportunity to continue in the Chamions League but we did not do our homework.”

Adama:

“Adama is giving us a lot, he unbalances defences and dribbles past a lot of players. He is capable of making a difference and will help us a lot between now and the end of the season.”

Luuk De Jong:

“He is having more prominence than he initially thought. Luuk trains very well and always helps us in game with his wonderful finishing.”

Napoli:

“We are talking about a Champions League level team, this could easily be a Champions League clash. They are a very good team.”

Dembélé:

“Him playing will not depend on whether we play at home or away. It will depend on training, I’m sure he will help us. His display against Espanyol was proof. Dembélé will play when we need him to.”

Europa League memories:

“Celtic eliminated us in the round of 16, it’s a memory that will stay with me. It’s more motivation to win a title that we don’t have.”

Aubameyang:

“He is now 100%. He will play for sure. He is a player capable of playing in space, going down to recieve and hold the ball. I am very happy with him.”

Options in attack:

“We now have a very wide range of options in attack and that is good for me as a coach.”

That concludes Xavi’s press conference.

Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images

Here’s what Pedri had to say:

Europa League:

“We value the competition and all of us are eager to compete and win the trophy.”

“Barca is used to winning and that is what we try and give the fans.”

“I encourage people to come because we are going to leave our all on the pitch.”

Differences between Koeman and Xavi:

“Koeman helped me a lot, he bet on me. Xavi is helping a lot too, especially the youngsters.”

Haaland or Mbappé?

“I’d rather talk about the game tomorrow. Both are great players.”

Ferran Torres:

“We got along very well both on and off the pitch. He has a goal in him and I am very happy that he is here.”

Messi:

“Leo contributed a lot and I enjoyed playing with him, but now he is gone and there are new players. I am very happy with the squad we have. Of course we miss him because he is the best in the world, but I am very happy with our squad.”

Arriving in the box:

“It’s something I have been working on since last season, it’s something I want to improve. I’ve scored 2 goals this year.”

Possible Improvements:

“We must get into the opposition’s box more and control the game after taking leads.”

Napoli:

“They have great midfielders. I know Fabián, with whom I got along very well. They have a great team. We must control the game.”

Fabián:

“He is a player with a very good shot. I hope he doesn’t have his day tomorrow. I haven’t talked to him yet, hopefully I will before the game.”

That concludes Pedri’s press conference.