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Pedri, Dani Alves, Memphis react after Barcelona thrash Athletic Club

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Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Barcelona put in one of their most impressive performances of the season on Sunday as they thrashed Athletic Club 4-0 at Camp Nou.

It was a top attacking display from the Catalans as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitutes Ousmane Dembele, Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay earned a vital victory and helped Xavi’s men move back into the top four.

Pedri was the architect of the victory as he put in a sublime display from the middle of the park. The Spanish international dictated the play from the centre, had a hand in almost everything positive that the team did.

Naturally, he was delighted after the game, and spoke about the performance, saying (h/t BarçaTV+): “I think this game was beautiful, our best one this season.”

There was one moment in the game when Pedri showed his genius, pulling off a backheel nutmeg on an Athletic player, that drew the loudest cheer from the Camp Nou crowd.

Speaking about it, the 19-year-old said: “I would actually be in big trouble if I had lost the ball while doing the nutmeg, but it worked. I looked at the Camp Nou screen to see what I had done.”

Pedri also hailed the impact of Ousmane Dembele, who came on from the bench to score a goal and assist two more. “Dembélé contributed a lot to us on the pitch, it showed with the great goal he scored. The situation was complicated but we handled it differently,” he said.

Speaking of the improvement made by the team, the youngster added: “We are calmer on the ball, now you can see the results, things are going much better. We worked really hard and we wanted to win, Xavi gives us a lot.”

Pedri also refused to rule out a late tilt at the La Liga title after the win, saying: “We aren’t ruling anything out, but we are just thinking about adding 3 points every game. Barça are 15 points behind Madrid and there are 39 points available.”

Dani Alves, Memphis shine on return

Memphis, Dembele and Luuk de Jong scored after coming on from the bench (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

Dani Alves, who made his return to the side after serving a two-match ban for the red card he received against Atletico Madrid, was thrilled to be back in action. “I wanted to play and come back with my colleagues. I was punished for two games and was eager to come back,” he said.

Speaking of the victory, the veteran defender added: “Our goal was to win and the three points and that’s what we did.”

Alves was also full of praise for Pedri, saying: “I am lucky to play with Pedri. Playing with these guys is great and it’s an honour for me to play at the Camp Nou.”

It was a big occasion for Memphis Depay, who made his return to action for the first time since early December when he picked up an injury. And the Dutchman celebrated his comeback with a well-taken goal in stoppage-time.

“I wasn’t expecting to be out for so long, but I’m glad to be back,” the forward said.

Speaking of the performance, he said: “We have more forwards now. And we saw what happened. We can score three goals in 10 minutes. The winter signings are doing very well. The team is in great shape.”

“Xavi changed our training methods. The opposing defenders now suffer when they face us,” the Netherlands international added.

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