Xavi appeared at the press conference ahead of tomorrow’s El Clásico and insisted that a win over Real could be a turning point for his side. The coach believes that the rivals are in the best form among the Spanish teams, but points out that the Classics are always unpredictable.
[Bruno Balleste, Barça TV] What do you need to eliminate the ever-dangerous Real and reach the final?
This match is an opportunity and a challenge for us. The players are very motivated, this could be a turning point for us. We will try to dominate the match, control it and defend it well. Many things are important as Real Madrid are in good shape, perhaps the best in Spain, as the league table shows. However, this is a different game. El Clásico is unpredictable, no matter what the point difference is, you never know what’s going to happen. We need to show our weapons and know we have things to hurt our rivals. We will fight to the end to reach the final.
[Ramon Salmurri, Catalunya Radio] What is the situation of Ferran Torres? Are you counting on him tomorrow? Will it physically last for many minutes?
It’s great news that Pedri and Ferran are now with us and can play. We are waiting for Ferran’s registration, it should be soon. These two players can make a difference on our team. We have to divide the minutes well, because it is players who have survived the coronavirus who come back after long injuries like Memphis or Ansu. They can’t play 90 minutes, but they can help us a lot in certain minutes. Not only tomorrow, but also in the next meetings. We’re getting the players back, that’s very important to our tactics.
[RAC1] How important is Araujo tomorrow to stop Real and the great Vinicius?
Not only Araujo, it’s about teamwork. Real trade positions well and often feel comfortable defending low. We have to be very careful with the covering when they counterattack. Vinicius, Benzema and Asensio make the difference in one-on-one duels. Real Madrid are in great shape and will be trying to control the game and have the ball. This is a good opportunity to find out where we are at.
[Joan Tejedor, Cadena SER] Can Ansu and Ferran play from the first minute?
We’ll see tomorrow. Ferran and Pedri train with a group for the first time. We’ll see about Ansu, he comes back after a long injury. They will definitely be important. They will probably get minutes, we’ll see how many. We need to know how they feel physically. It’s not just about tomorrow, we have practically five months to play and we don’t want to lose anyone due to an injury. We will dose the effort.
[Helena Condis, Cadena COPE] Real has not lost to Barcelona in five classics. If you win tomorrow, can you prove something?
This could be a turning point, it is extremely important to us. Winning will give us a promotion to the finals, confidence and an increase in morale. Since I’m in the club, every duel is the final. Tomorrow we are fighting for another trophy, the league and the King’s Cup have to be set aside. We can win the title in two matches.
[Alfredo Martínez, Onda Cero] Ansu, Ferran, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong are not in their best physical condition. Will this have a significant impact on your eleven? Do we still have to wait for the composition you want?
I see positives in the team. Some things are very good, others need to be improved. Recently I talked about self-criticism, we need to improve set pieces, the marking in crosses. But we do other things well. We are building a new project, it takes time. We have a good exam tomorrow. The players you are talking about will be important tomorrow and in the future. I’m glad we’re getting them back.
[Radio Nacional] If you could take one of the players from Real Madrid, who would you pick?
I don’t want to take anyone, let everyone play and then we’ll see where we really are. We don’t want excuses. We will be realistic tomorrow whether we win or lose. I prefer everyone to play and the game to be a spectacle for the fans. It’s El Clásico, everyone is motivated. Let’s enjoy these fantastic games.
[Jordi Quixano, El País] After recovering that many players, do you have to play differently in the last period of the pitch?
I said before that these players can make a difference, get into the penalty area. It is difficult for us to create opportunities, and thanks to them we will be able to do so. We’ll have to split up the minutes, but getting those players back certainly makes us better.
[Anais Marti, La Vanguardia] Do you think your first El Clásico is coming too soon, considering how long you work at the club and what your staffing situation was?
No, I don’t think so. The calendar is what it is. We need time and we had big problems with injuries and the coronavirus. However, this is no excuse, we are Barça and we have to fight and compete. We have an exam tomorrow.
[German Bona, Sport] Comparing Barça to Real Madrid is inevitable. Currently, Real is better, but can it be said that you have a bigger future?
I don’t know, I’m not a clairvoyant. However, I am an optimist, I think about the work done. I can see things that have improved significantly. The players are playing better and better, they are patient, they cope when they have opportunities. We have to control the details and be able to compete. We need time to develop and compete.
[Gabriel Sans, Mundo Deportivo] What role does Memphis play today? How important is it for the team?
Just like everyone. Those who work for it will play. The rivalry in Barcelona is very intense, fortunately we have now managed to create a list with many players from the first team. The best will play, it is about merit and form. The last name doesn’t matter.
[ESPN] You have played many classics as a footballer. How do you approach this game as a coach?
I’ve lived a bit of everything. Sometimes Barça was the favorite and didn’t win, but vice versa. Barcelona is under construction, we are trying to do well. Real is in very good shape, but that doesn’t mean anything. El Clásico will be unpredictable. We will try to be ourselves and dominate. It will not be easy, however. We have to show personality.