Barcelona will look to strengthen their grip at the top of the La Liga standings when they host Getafe at Camp Nou on Sunday evening.
It will be the Catalans’ first league game since the 1-0 away win over Atletico Madrid. They have been occupied with cup assignments in recent weeks as they lifted the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia before beating AD Ceuta in Copa del Rey earlier this week.
With the focus now back on La Liga action, Xavi Hernandez and his men will be aiming to continue carrying forward their momentum and build on their impressive performances against the likes of Real Madrid and Ceuta in recent matches.
On the eve of the game against Getafe, Xavi appeared in front of the media for his pre-match press conference, excerpts from which are below.
On Getafe: “Getafe are a very hard-working team defensively. They are a tough, physical team. Mayoral and Ünal win duels in attack. Quique works the defensive system very well. We’ll have to be patient, it’s one of those games that can get away from us. I hope that, in the great moment of form and spirit that we’re in, we can get the three points.”
On Memphis Depay’s exit: “Memphis asked to leave. He had the proposal from Atlético, we spoke and he asked me to leave. He needs to play and feel more important. We have all won because the club has earned money for the work.
On possible reinforcements: “If we can reinforce, all the better, but we depend solely and exclusively on fair play. At the moment, things are difficult.”
On the possible formation for tomorrow’s game: “Tomorrow we will have to open up the pitch and attack down the flank. We have alternatives, the opposition don’t know how we will attack. It’s an option to play with four midfielders, we only have three strikers. Ángel Alarcón has been called up.”
On Dani Alves’ arrest: “It is difficult to comment on a situation like this. I am surprised, shocked, in a state of ‘shock’. It is a matter of justice. Justice will rule whatever it is.”
On drawing Real Sociedad in Copa del Rey: “It’s always important to play at home. For us, Camp Nou is an advantage, a guarantee. I think we’ve been drawn against the best team in Spanish football. Real Sociedad are in a tremendous moment. The draw hasn’t gone badly, but we have to prove it on the pitch”.
On Yannick Carrasco: “The club has kept an option to buy. We will see if we are interested in exercising it in the summer. Let’s see where we are and how the season has gone.”
On Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong: “They are available, but they are coming back from injury. We’ll see how they are tomorrow. Now we can’t play with players at 80%. Every game is a war, it’s a final.”
On the La Liga schedule: “We’ve lost points at the Bernabéu but also against Rayo and Espanyol, and tomorrow is one of those games that can get complicated. We don’t have an easy schedule, it’s very demanding I would say.”
On Gavi: “I think the individual talks and videos have gone very well. He is one of the players who has watched the most individual videos. He is a very young player and the immaturity of his age meant that he didn’t compete well at certain times.
“He has matured very well, he knows how to make a tactical foul when he has to, he knows when to receive with his back turned, he is a very intelligent player and for his young age, he has matured very quickly. He competes better every day and with his desire and courage he is very important to the team.”
On controlling the euphoria around the team: “We have to keep up the standards and even increase them. Now it’s easy to relax and you have to avoid that and make everyone feel important. We can play better, the game against Madrid was excellent and brilliant, but we have to maintain the level.”
On making football attractive for young audiences: “I consume more football now than I used to. I have to watch football all the time. It’s my job and my passion. I’m lucky enough to coach the club of my life. young people? I think everything would get better with effective time.
“There would be no more cheating and the game would be more dynamic. I don’t think football has lost fans. The example can be seen with women’s football, which is becoming more and more attractive.”
On wanting to sign new players: “I haven’t asked for any reinforcements, I’ve already said that I’m fine as I am. I’m happy and if not we’ll pull from the reserve team and if not we’ll pull from the youth team . I’m delighted with the squad, I have no complaints and I haven’t asked for anything.”
On comparison with Real Madrid: “We are not comparing ourselves with Madrid, we are comparing ourselves with ourselves, we are better than we were a month ago. It’s about improving what we have done well and correcting what we have done badly. I’ve seen an improvement in the Super Cup and against Ceuta compared to the Espanyol game.”
On if he is satisfied with the squad: “Honestly, I haven’t asked for any signings. It’s difficult to improve the squad we have. It’s not easy to find an important player in winter. If we stay as we are, I’ll be very happy.”
On whether they are in the best moment of the season: “If not the best, then one of the best. After the draw against Rayo we had a good run, but the win against Madrid gave us a title and a lot of confidence. Now the important thing is to keep up the level. We want to fight for the three titles we have left.”
On Andreas Christensen: “Andreas gives me a lot of confidence and security. A lot. Very little happens in his area. It’s a sense of tranquility that he transmits. He does a lot of things well: he gets the ball out, he’s aggressive in the air.
“It’s a very good signing by the sporting management. He’s very happy and he’s getting more and more confident. He is starting to master the language. His progress has been very good.”
On Martin Zubimendi: “I don’t like to talk about players under contract with other teams. We will try to be better than Real Sociedad in the Copa, but we are now focused on tomorrow’s game. We’ve lost four points at home and we can’t lose any more.”
On Ansu Fati: “He plays a decisive role in the team, that’s why he’s a differential player and makes a difference. He is decisive and is important for the team, even more so in the games that Robert [Lewandowski] is not playing due to suspension. He has to be a reference.”
On Ferran Torres: “He’s fine, what he doesn’t do is score goals. A player who is so capable of making a difference with goals, when he doesn’t score in a lot of games his confidence drops, he needs that confidence, and to feel important.
“But he’s going to do it, he’s always done it, we have blind confidence in him and he’s very important and he’s given us a lot so far. Ferran’s numbers are not bad at all. That goal he’s missing will come in very handy.”
On Franck Kessie: “Franck is an important and dynamic player, physical, with a goal. He has taken a step forward, it’s not easy to adapt to another philosophy. It happened to Abidal, Mascherano, Toure, Keita, I remember several. The game he played in Ceuta is the level he has to give and show.”
On the Kings League: “I don’t follow it, I don’t like it, I know it’s succeeding. Whatever Gerard touches will go well because he has the capacity and the leadership. I think it’s going well. The club has made an agreement with them and it’s a show, I wish them all the best.”
On Angel Alarcon: “He is one of the options, we always look at home. He came up a month ago to train and I liked him a lot. He can play as a 9, 11, or 7, he’s versatile, with goalscoring ability and he’s very good in space. Now he’s with us and if he earns it he can get more minutes.”
On Alejandro Balde: “I’m very happy for him. He has a lot of personality, he makes a difference, he’s very strong and quick and it’s difficult to beat him one-on-one. We have very good cover at left-back with Marcos, Alba and Balde.”
On the youth players at La Masia: “We look at the youngsters every weekend. We have Joan Barberà keeping an eye on the reserve team and we look at the performance of all the youth players. They are all capable: those who are mentally prepared will have opportunities.”