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Xavi talks Ferran, Yamal, Cubarsi, Roque, Lewandowski, Real Madrid, referees after Real Betis 2-4 Barcelona



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona secured a resounding 4-2 win over Real Betis away at the Benito Villamarin, riding on the brilliance of hat-trick hero Ferran Torres.

The Spaniard scored in the first half to hand Barça the lead, before adding a second after half-time. Two quickfire goals from Isco threatened the visitors, but Joao Felix and Ferran were on target late in the game to secure a deserved and morale-boosting win for Xavi’s side.

The Barcelona manager had been under pressure of late and his celebrations on the touchline showed how much the victory meant.

Xavi discusses the result

Speaking to the media after the match, Xavi said: “I think the fans enjoyed the match, we certainly did. The team has been very good, we have taken a step forward. We have not played a perfect game, but this was a great game in general.”

Analysing the game, the Barça boss said: “We were doing very well, controlling the match well, with the 0-2. After that, we suffered in a random play that we didn’t understand. We felt like there was a possible foul on Pedri. Araujo and Iñaki misunderstood each other and they scored.”

The manager did lament the fact that the team did not close out the game sooner, saying: “After the first goal they scored, we got tense and we immediately conceded another one. We played a great match, but we should have killed it off earlier.”

Describing what the result meant for him and the team, Xavi added: “This is a big step forward. We just won in a stadium that no one has been able to win. this season. We did it with youngsters and personality.”

Praise for players

As one would expect, there was a lot of praise for hat-trick hero Ferran Torres, who continues to come up clutch for the team.

“Ferran is a very strong player mentally. In the summer, he told me that his mission was to succeed at Barça. Through hard work, he has earned his place,” said Xavi.

“Ferran is one of the players with the strongest mentalities I have ever seen in my career. He has completely turned his situation by himself. I’m very happy for him,” he added.

The manager also name-checked the brilliant Lamine Yamal and debutant Pau Cubarsi, saying: “Lamine and Cubarsi are extremely young, but they are competitive. They can mark an era at the club.”

Cubarsi impressed on La Liga debut. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Commenting on the young defender’s maturity, he added: “It doesn’t seem like Pau Cubarsi is 16 years old. He’s a very capable footballer, and he’s mature when you talk to him. He’s responsible and centered. I don’t think he misplaced a pass today.”

One of the most notable moments in the game came in the second half when Xavi opted to take Robert Lewandowski off and replace him with new arrival Vitor Roque. Explaining the move, he added:

“For this match, we needed a striker to make runs in behind. If Vitor Roque has a special ability, it’s his quality to make those runs.”

“The substitution of Vitor Roque for Lewandowski was tactical, it was not meant to single out anyone,” he added, defending his decision.

“Lewandowski will continue to be important for us. I subbed him off because we needed someone to make runs in behind.”

On the team, season, Copa del Rey

Further talking about the match, Xavi claimed this was one of the best performances from Barcelona this season and hoped it would act as a turning point.

“This was one of the best matches of the season. I hope this result can become a turning point for us. We needed a ‘click’ to change our negative dynamic.”

On any concerns he has with the team, he added: “I’m worried in both boxes, in defence in attack, but mostly in defence. We concede goals too easily.

“We made two mistakes, and quickly we were already 2-2. It seemed very unfair. We have to dominate these matches until the end. This is football. Sometimes we lack concentration, sometimes the rival makes things very hard.”

But, highlighting the team’s unity, he added: “This team is a family. We won a match that was getting very complicated for us.”

Up next for the Catalans is the Copa del Rey quarter-finals against Athletic Club, and Xavi vowed to fight for a win, saying: “The match in San Mamés will be very difficult. We have to fight for all of the titles we have left.”

There has been chatter about Xavi’s future after some of the recent results. When asked if this win consolidates his position, the Barcelona boss replied: “I don’t know if this match makes my position stronger or not. I only think about the team.”

On the refereeing in Real Madrid vs Almeria

Referees under spotlight after Real Madrid vs Almeria. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

The Barcelona manager also had something to say about the refereeing during the game between Real Madrid and Almeria earlier today, which saw the former secure a controversial 3-2 win after being two goals down.

“Everyone saw the refereeing in the Real Madrid – Almería match. After our first match this season, I already told you that it was going to be incredibly difficult to win La Liga this season. I stand by those words,” said Xavi.

“Regarding the refereeing for the Madrid match, I would just like to repeat [Almeria manager] Garitano’s words. Also, an opinion article by Alfredo Relaño. He’s a very good journalist,” he added.

Pointing out some of the refereeing decisions that have hurt Barcelona this season, Xavi said: “With fair refereeing calls, we should have 6 more points in the table. We should have beaten Getafe, a clear penalty in Vallecas that nobody mentions, Joao Felix’s goal in Granada…

“But nobody talks about this. We can’t do anything about it, but to keep working.”

Source: La Liga/YouTube

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