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Rayo Vallecano manager talks Gavi, Pedri, ter Stegen, Xavi ahead of Barcelona clash

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Rayo Vallecano manager Francisco Rodriguez has said that Gavi’s loss is going to hurt Barcelona because he was one of the most important players for the team. However, did admit that regardless of his absence, the team from Catalonia has good players.

Barcelona will lock horns with Rayo Vallecano at Estadio de Vallecas in Madrid on Saturday, and while speaking during the media duties, Rodriguez talked about several aspects of the game, including his take on Barcelona’s unfortunate run against his side.

“They already know [the record]. That is no longer enough for us to win tomorrow. From there we will have to compete 100%. I never beat him with Elche,” Rodriguez was quoted by AS

“Xavi is a friend of mine and a very good coach, we met many years ago. Let’s see if he gives me a victory because I need it too.”

Rodriguez’s favourite Barcelona player

The Vallecano coach was also asked which player among the current Barcelona roster is his favourite, to which he said that everyone on the team is a top player.

“They are all top players. Pedri is differential, [Marc-Andre] ter Stegen, [Ronald] Araujo. Anyone up there can make things difficult for you and we will try to counteract them.”

It is believed that Barcelona will miss the services of ter Stegen as the German is not 100% fit for the game. 

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is expected to miss the game against Rayo Vallecano. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

While talking about it, Rodriguez said, “Whoever plays, has a very high level. We have prepared for the game understanding that Ter Stegen will be there. For the show, we like the best to play.”

When asked about his take on Gavi, he added, “What happened with Gavi is unfortunate, not only for Barcelona but for the national team because he was one of the most important players. His absence will affect Barcelona, ​​but they have good players.”

How does it feel to beat Barcelona?

It must be remembered that Barcelona are without a win in each of their last four games against Rayo Vallecano. Interestingly enough, though, Rodriguez has not overseen any triumph, having only joined Vallecano in June this year.

When speaking about the current run of his team, he explained, “We respect our rival a lot. They are one of the best in Europe and the world. 

“We have to do what we have been doing, be brave and try to take advantage of the moments we have, know how to suffer. Barça will make us, at times, play in a low block and we have to defend well.”

Lastly, Xavi’s criticism of the press was made evident when the Barcelona manager spoke after the Alaves game, saying that media criticism is affecting the performance of his players. When asked about this, Rodriguez said,

“We must know how to deal with praise and criticism. Everyone who plays in La Liga must be prepared to bear pressure and criticism from everywhere.”

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