Xavi and Jordi Alba were at the pre-match press conference for the game against Benfica on Tuesday. The manager had a lot to say about the team and game.
What Differences Can You Expect Between This Game And The Espanyol Game
I saw the game again, we played really well until the final minutes, we played good football. That’s our idea, tomorrow is a tough match. Benfica have a great manager, great squad, very difficult. The intensity will be high, but we’re prepared to compete.
Are you optimistic
We will see tomorrow, we’re a better team than Espanyol, we have to show this day by day. Barcelona have to win to go to the next round, we have to be positive, brave, and attack. We lost 3-0 last time, so it won’t be easy.
How do you plan to tackle the winger problem due to unavailability of the players
We will see how Dest and Dembele evolve, now we have a training session, and tomorrow, we’ll decide. Coutiinho and Demir can also play there.
About Pedri winning the Golden Boy Award, and when he’ll be back
He deserves the award, and we will see when he will be back, it’s not an easy injury. We will try to get him back as soon as possible, we do not have a date yet.
Is tomorrow the most important match in your career
At Barca, you have to compete every three days. I try to be honest, and it’s a great chance to go to the next round. We are Barca and we want to win, it’s a great challenge.
Will Bousquets be fit for tomorrow
Oscar, Nico, and Bousquets are okay, they will train today and tomorrow.
About the winger problem
We have to analyse it, after the training session we will see. Roberto, Dest, Ousmane, are in their last part of their recovery. Everyone knows their body well, we will see if they can help us.
About the moral boost for tomorrow’s win
I want to win tomorrow, I don’t want to think about any other scenario. It’s a great opportunity to win and go to the next round. If we lose, we will prepare accordingly.
What do you ask from the fans tomorrow
We need the fans again tomorrow to support us, to help us qualify to the next round. I have to thank them.
Will you change your formation
It doesn’t matter, what matters is the idea to keep the ball and attack, and to play your way. I try to explain to the players how to have the ball and play.
About Man United sacking Ole
A manager is really important, he’s the leader of the squad. You have to convince them how to play. The most important job is the players. I want them to enjoy the field.
About Barca’s defensive lineup
We count on every defender, we will think of who to play. All of them are training well.
How do you live this situation as Barca’s manager
I am really happy, I’m a positive person. I’m very proud to be here, we have a fantastic team and can compete against anyone. It’s not easy to beat the teams, but we are Barca, we have to be at our best level.
How do you see the Benfica team
Benfica are a great team, Jorge Jesus is a fantastic manager with a great character. They have top quality centre backs, good players. It will be difficult to face them, they are very talented.
Is it important to have wingers in the team
We have to take our chances, Illais is a natural winger. Gavi and Alba help us, although they’re not natural wingers. If we open the field, we have more space inside. We want to fill these gaps.
About the goalkeepers
Marc is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He has a strong character, I’m really happy to have him in the team.
Illias is suspended as he saw a red card in the youth league
About a physical midfielder
We have them. Nico, Frenkie, and Bousquets are very physical players. It depends on the way you want to play.
About the UCL group
We have to win against Benfica since we lost the previous games. I want to be positive.
If Barca lose tomorrow, what would your message be as an objective, how would it affect you
You are talking about something that might happen. If we don’t win, you can ask me then. I don’t expect to lose. I cannot send a message that we won’t get qualified. But I think that we will win tomorrow.
About a lack of goal scorer in the team
We can score, we will arrive with many players in the opposition’s box, and not just the strikers. We have to create chances, and we have to be a clinical team.
About interest in a player from Al Sadd
No interest, I won’t sign any player from Al Sadd
About the players’ attitude for the game tomorrow
We have to do everything with the ball. We have to improve many aspects from the other game.
Are you satisfied with a 1-0 win
I prefer to play a great game and have a great result. It’s important for us to play well in order to win. It’s important to create chances.
Two or three things that you started to do, and how are you sleeping
I am sleeping even more than before. I explained the values and rules to the players. Then I explained the game model, our tactics. We have to have the responsibility with the ball.
JORDI ALBA’S PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE
After the Espanyol game, this is the first final of the season
Xavi gave us a lot of confidence, we deserved the victory. The team came out very motivated, we want to win. Fifteen minutes were difficult but we are confident. In Portugal we had a lot of chances but we didn’t score. It will be difficult, and we have to take advantage of the Camp Nou.
Your relationship with Xavi
We have enormous respect for him as a coach and a friend. We’re lucky to have him here, it’s a great joy to have him back.
Koeman did a good job, we won the Copa last season. Every manager has his own style, we’re all very grateful to him. However, Xavi knows the house very well, he will help us a lot.
Xavi says that he talks a lot with you
Xavi is our coach, and I’ve known him since a week as a coach. It’s true that he has taken a lot of time to talk to us, even to the players who haven’t played much. It’s a positive thing for the team. We need to improve, Xavi has very good ideas.
Xavi expects a victory tomorrow, how are you feeling
We are aware that we want to win. We’ll have the chance to qualify for the next round. We will try our best to win. We know what our coach wants from us, and we will respond accordingly. The fans will help us as well.
Mentally, how has it changed since Xavi arrived
I think it is normal to have rules, but not a lot has changed. I’m very happy with the arrival of Xavi. We know how much he loves Barca, the young players have had him as a reference point.
Do you have extra motivation to show you’re better than Benfica
We have to show this tomorrow. We didn’t play that bad in Portugal, but this is a different match.
How has the style of play changed under Xavi
Not a lot has changed, we know how these things go. I think I did well in the game, I saw the game again. We listen to what the coach wants from us. It’s difficult to find spaces in attack when there’s a back five. Sometimes I have more chances to give an assist or score goals.
About Kun Aguero and his potential retirement
It can’t be easy to retire like this. He’s in good spirits, and a positive person. He has to decide how he feels and how things are. We send him all our support.
About the psychological and mental change since Xavi arrived
It’s important to disconnect from football and do different things to be more united and keep the team spirit. I’m happy to have the staff and the changes made. I’m grateful for the previous staff as well. Xavi is here, we’re very happy. I hope he’s here for many years.
How are you feeling before tomorrow’s game
It’s a final and we’re optimistic, we’re positive. In front of our fans, we hope they support us. They have been great so far this season. This gives us a lot of motivation, it gives us confidence as well.
What has Xavi demanded from the veterans of the squad
He asked us to give it our all every game, this is what a Barca player needs to do. We’re going to fight for him, just like all the players. We will do the work that he’s asking from us.
What Benfica do you expect tomorrow
Benfica is great on the counter, they have a lot of good individual players. Tomorrow is going to be a tough game.
About the Camp Nou fans against Espanyol
It was Xavi;s first game back as manager. The fans are always behind us. Fans make it very complicated for the opponent. Fans have been great so far this season, and we have to appreciate that.