Xavi talks about Jules Kounde, Inter Milan, and Barcelona’s Champions League chances
The boss of Barcelona FC spoke about the importance of the match, Jules Kounde’s fitness, how his team can improve, and what he’s expecting from Inter.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez faced the press ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Champions League clash against Inter.
Here are the best bits:
Xavi on Inter
We expect something very similar to what we saw on the other leg. They are very defensive, and their block is usually very far back in their defense. We’ve been working hard in training to work them out better. I think we’ve improved a bit from the Barcelona we were in the last 15-20 minutes in Milan.
Xavi on the message to his players
The message I’m giving you now is that this is the final. We need to go for everything, be positive, and try not to feel pressured. The pressure is there for me as a coach, and I hope they enjoy the game. It’s amazing seeing Camp Nou full, full of our fans, something to enjoy, the atmosphere, the feelings, and if they win even better. If they win the match, it will change the dynamic in the group.
Xavi on his plan
We will go on the attack, but we have to try to be better. In the first half, we didn’t understand the role of Raphinha and Marcos. We will change something to attack much better. We have to be more aggressive. Only three points matter. We have to be brave.
Xavi on if he’ll take a 1-0 win
No, I want a 2-0. A 2-0 win is better.
Xavi on the fans’ role
Fundamental. The fans have understood. The tickets are sold out. Tomorrow from the first moment, Camp Nou has to be a cauldron. Whatever happens, we are going to give everything so that the three points stay here.
Xavi on Kounde
In principle, we don’t count on Kounde for tomorrow, except for any surprises. I think he can make it to the Clasico on Sunday, but it will depend on how he feels. If he’s not 100 percent, then maybe not, but I think he can make it against Madrid.
Xavi on what Celta
I think we lowered the intensity and Celta is capable of stealing your personality. We know the diagnosis: tomorrow push hard and not lower the intensity.
Xavi on how to manage the game
If we score in the first minute then great, but we have 90 minutes. We have to know how to attack better. If we attack like in the second half in Milan, I’m optimistic.
Xavi on the thought of going out of the UCL
It would be a big disappointment, but we are going to think positively. It has been difficult for us. We failed in Munich, and then because of the controversy in Milan… but we have an opportunity to fix it tomorrow.
Xavi on Pedri and Gavi only found each other 3 times against Celta
Yes, we have to improve that. We also found that with individual marking, it was difficult for us to find ourselves inside. You have to attack more from the second line and offer yourself more.
Xavi on Inter’s low block
We have a very clear way of attacking so that we feel comfortable. If they change their system, it doesn’t matter much to us. We have a clear idea to go out and win tomorrow.
Xavi on Lewandowski
Tomorrow is everyone’s day, he has to be important, not only tomorrow but in all the games, just like his teammates. We have to improve in the game and associate more with him, we haven’t done that in the last few games.
Xavi on Alba and Ferran Torres being whistled
We try to get the fans to help us, to be positive, I don’t think about anything else. I’m thinking that things will go well. I want them to be proud of the team.
Xavi on Frenkie de Jong
He’s fine. He’s coming off an injury, but he’s fine. Tomorrow we’ll assess whether he starts from the start or in the second half.