Sant Joan Despí“Catalans are like that,” said Xavi, summing up the expectations generated by his arrival at the Camp Nou. Betis, full of ex-Barça players, are testing Barça’s level (4.15pm, Movistar LaLiga). The Catalans face the duel after a week of tactical work in the Sports City but with a view to the crucial match in the Champions League. As if winning matches were not difficult enough, Barça are also required to play well.
Xavi, who until now had not had a clean week of matches and with all the staff to train, has dedicated the sessions to “adjusting” aspects of the game and “correcting vices of the past”. Far from the result, the Egarenc coach emphasizes the ball, the com. “In Vila-real we won, but we know that we were bad in many phases of the match, which we did not dominate”, he pointed out in the previous one. After the victories against Espanyol and Ceràmica, Barça can add the third consecutive victory in the League, something that has not happened yet this season. From the locker room they corroborate the good feelings that the new Barça coach has and emphasize that the work and the intensity in the training sessions are higher than they were a few weeks ago, with Koeman as conductor.
But Barça can’t live without sensations. “We have urgencies, many points of disadvantage”, Xavi recalled before playing against a rival, Betis, which surpasses him in the classification. As if that weren’t enough, Wednesday’s match in Munich will be added, where Barça will play their way to the round of 16 of the Champions League and, in return, the chance to win some essential money to be able to meet this season’s budget. Xavi has warned that he will not rotate. At this point, he is playing for four days before the final against Bayern.
The physical appearance can help Barça, as Betis had a Cup match on Wednesday. Although, and considering that the rival was of inferior categories, Manuel Pellegrini made rotations to the eleven. The Chilean coach, with a Madrid past, knows that the match will be special for some of his players, such as Bartra, Bellerín, Miranda and Tello, all of them with a Barcelona past. However, two former Barça players, goalkeeper Bravo and winger Montoya, who have not recovered from their injuries, will not be able to travel. “With the arrival of Xavi, Barça is in a better position. It’s hard to tell if it’s more or less complicated than in other seasons. The only thing that is objective is that the absence of Messi implies a disadvantage, although that alone does not mean anything “, Pellegrini pointed out.
Dembélé will not sit in the stands
Despite the three goals in Villarreal, Barça are still suffering from a lack of goals. Ansu will be out for a few more weeks and Xavi will continue to give gallons to Dembélé, a player who is waiting to renew with the club. Egarenc, who has distanced himself from the negotiations, has already warned that he will not take any measures of force and that he will have the French winger even if he does not want to extend his ties with Barça, which ends in 2022. ” The numbers don’t depend on me, but sportingly the message is very clear. That it has to be worked on, yes, but also that it can become the best in the world in its position “, Xavi pointed out. Stay in the stands? “It wouldn’t be the goal. A contracted player has to play. I’d rather think he’ll stay. But if he doesn’t, he has to play. Also because of the club’s image. I don’t value not letting him play.”
Xavi, who congratulated Alexia on the Golden Ball, also thanked Pedri (best player under 21) for inviting the squad to dinner. The coach, who opened the door to signings in the winter market, also defended the policy of “prudence” with Ansu Fati. “He’s making an extraordinary effort. He has a great involvement. We have to be careful with him so that he is 100%. We can’t lose more players, we’ve been forcing them when he wasn’t playing.”
Sergi Roberto “is fundamental”
Finally, he broke a spear in favor of Sergi Roberto, whom he considered to have received “unfair treatment” from the Camp Nou, even with whistles. “Now he has to clean up, recover well and be happy. For me he is a key player, and that’s how I passed it on to the club.”