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‘Must score more’ – Xavi talks Lewandowski, Raphinha, Felix, Kounde after Barcelona 1-0 Las Palmas

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Barcelona scored a dominant 1-0 win over Las Palmas last night in La Liga. While the scoreline may nit reflect their dominance, the Catalans had enough firepower to put four or even five goals past Garcia Pimienta’s men on another night.

Raphinha was the player who made the difference for the Catalans last night, scoring a well-worked winner at the hour mark.

Barcelona did indeed have a numerical advantage for the greater part of the game, but that does not take anything away from their brilliance.

Speaking to the media in an elaborate press conference after Barcelona’s win over Las Palmas, Xavi gave his detailed insights into various aspects of the team’s play, improvement and plan ahead.

On the team’s performance against Las Palmas

The manager began by providing an overview of the game that unfolded against Garcia Pimienta’s side and the 1-0 scoreline which did not do justice to his team’s performance.

“A small result given what we saw today. We are having problems with finishing games this season.”

“We played a good game, the result is short. We dominated, and we generated chances. I think it is a summary of what we have had this season, we did not close the game earlier and we ended up suffering,” he added.

Speaking on the team’s performance, dominance and comfort on the ball last night, the Spanish tactician said,

“The balance is positive. We have played with high ball circulation, we have attacked spaces well. We have ambition and desire.”

“If we had been a little more effective today we would have won easily. We had the 2-0 with a very clear chance by João,” Xavi also said, highlighting Joao Felix’s strike that hit the crossbar.

Xavi concluded his review of the game by reiterating that the result should have been more favourable to Barcelona in terms of dominance.

“Very bad luck. We controlled the match and had several chances. We did not decide the match early and after that, we started to suffer. I think this is a summary of the season.”

“I am happy and satisfied with the victory, but we must score more goals,” he urged the team forward.

On the defensive improvement

During his post-match press conference last night, Xavi revealed that the defensive improvement was the key that helped the team recover its best version in recent weeks. Elaborating on the same, he said,

“Our defensive improvement? We like to defend. The pressing is very good, we are intense, serious, and responsible. Commitment is the key to being in this situation.”

He then weighed in on the clean sheet which happens to be Barcelona’s fifth successive clean sheet in La Liga.

“Another clean sheet? Since the beginning of the season, I said that what we are exposed to is because of our mistakes and we must avoid that. Now we are entering a crucial stage of the season and I think we have improved that.”

On the game ahead

Barcelona next take on PSG in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal before returning to La Liga to face Cadiz and Real Madrid. When asked about his future, the coach quickly deflected the question to the great challenge that lay ahead.

“My future? It’s time to rest and think about PSG. Step by step, nothing changes. This scenario of staying until the end of the season is better for the club than having to fire the coach.”

Commenting on El Clasico which is scheduled for mid-April, Xavi said

“El Clásico? First, we have to beat Cádiz, it will be a good war. Let’s wait and see what Real Madrid does tomorrow.”

“If Real Madrid win tomorrow, we will continue to fight. It does not depend on us, today we have done our homework and we must do it like this every day,” he added.

Finally, he gave his two cents on facing Cadiz with key absentees through suspension.

“Without Lewandowski, Joao and Iñigo in Cádiz, we will compete at the same level.”

On the goalscorer

Xavi elaborately heaped praise on Raphinha for making a tangible difference last night. The Brazilian was inspiring throughout the game and even scored the winning goal from a lovely Joao Felix assist.

“Raphinha is so dynamic that he can play in all attacking positions. He also plays with a lot of intensity, he gives us a lot.”

“Raphinha’s disallowed goal is a serious refereeing mistake,” Xavi emphasised that the players should have at least had a brace.

Speaking on what the winger lacked to be a starter, Xavi said,

“I don’t think talking about whether he is a starter or non-starter is important for us, he is a very important footballer for our team. He was outstanding in many matches throughout the season, and today was no different.”

“Raphinha started the match with a calm spirit and positive behaviour, good psychology, and a desire to make a difference, which he achieved. He works for the team and participates in defence,” he concluded.

On the stand-out players

The final segment of Xavi’s interview saw him individually point out some of the numerous stars who shone against Las Palmas, the first of whom was the substitute who came off the bench to assist the winning goal.

“João Félix benched? There is no need to talk about João Félix as a starter or not, he is important, and he makes a difference in many matches, today he does it from the bench. I am very happy with João Félix, today he could have started.”

The manager also heaped praise on Jules Kounde for his rapid adaptation to life at right-back.

“Koundé? He has been in many matches at an excellent level. He always wants to improve, and he is very committed no matter where he plays. He is always there, does not get the ball, and thinks about defence. It is difficult to find players who enjoy defending and he does that.”

Commenting on two La Masia midfielders, the coach said,

“Fermin López helps us a lot.”

“I would like to highlight the great work that Sergi Roberto is doing after returning from his injury.”

Finally, the Spanish tactician threw light on Oriol Romeu’s solid cameo off the bench and detailed Joan Laporta’s importance in the dressing room ecosystem.

“There are injuries, but we have players at a high level. Look at Oriol Romeu, who has improved a lot.”

“Laporta is happy, he went into the locker room as always and he is proud of the team,” Xavi finally said and exited.

Source: MARCA

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