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Xavi’s insights ahead of Barcelona’s clash against Napoli

Xavi / FC Barcelona
Xavi / FC Barcelona

Recap of Xavi’s press conference ahead of the match against Napoli.

In a charged pre-match press conference preceding the clash against Napoli, Barcelona’s head coach, Xavi, provided a glimpse into his mindset and tactical approach. With direct quotes peppered throughout, Xavi’s words unveil a mix of optimism, strategic analysis, and acknowledgment of the challenges posed by their Italian adversaries.

Xavi commenced by underlining the significance of the impending match, articulating, “For us, this game means motivation and hope to advance to the quarterfinals. It is the ideal and perfect scenario to advance and have a great game.” The abrupt change in Napoli’s coaching staff added an element of unpredictability, to which Xavi admitted, “With the change of coach, we do not know very well what the match will bring us.”

Assessing the balance of probabilities, Xavi refrained from declaring a clear favorite, asserting, “I think it’s 50-50, I’ll leave it to you to decide the favorite. We have to earn it on the field.” Directing attention to Napoli’s lethal striker, Robert Lewandowski, Xavi emphasized, “Tomorrow is the perfect setting to demonstrate his talent. Lewandowski is a great leader, who was not going through his best scoring moment. But he is a born leader.”

In scrutinizing Napoli’s tactical adaptations under their new coach, Xavi maintained a composed demeanor, stating, “Tomorrow we will see what tactical formation he uses, but it changes little for us.” Transitioning to discuss his players, particularly Frenkie de Jong, Xavi addressed media speculation with firmness, remarking, “I understand Frenkie because lies are published. I know that he is happy here and is a capital player who I hope will stay for many years.”

Eager to temper expectations while emphasizing commitment, Xavi elucidated, “We don’t play to silence mouths, we play for the people who love the club. Tomorrow is a day to enjoy, and above all, to compete.” Confronting the omnipresent pressure associated with managing Barcelona, Xavi affirmed, “The pressure is the same as always, it’s Barça’s pressure.”

Anticipating Napoli’s formidable attacking trio, Xavi acknowledged the defensive challenges, stating, “For us, it is essential to defend well. It is difficult to stop Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, and Politano.” Looking ahead to the return leg, Xavi remained resolute, stating, “We have to prepare for the game knowing that there are 90 minutes left in Montjuïc. But that doesn’t change our DNA. We have to defend well and have the ball.”

Reflecting on his decision to announce his departure from the club, Xavi expressed confidence in the team’s unity, affirming, “The decision to announce that I am leaving the club has been the right one. The club is very united, everyone has given more of themselves.” However, he didn’t shy away from addressing media scrutiny, stating, “We don’t blame the media for the bad results or for not playing well. But as a player, you feel injustice because of the lies that are told.”

Concluding with a statement of intent, Xavi reaffirmed Barcelona’s ethos, declaring, “We will go out to win. A draw is not a good result for Barça, they have brought me up that way. Although we have to keep in mind that we are playing the second leg in Montjuïc.”

In this comprehensive pre-match dialogue, Xavi not only dissected the tactical nuances but also provided a glimpse into his leadership philosophy and unwavering commitment to Barcelona’s success.