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Xavi talks Lamine, Cubarsi, Christensen, Ferran, Laporta ahead of Barcelona vs Napoli

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Xavi Hernandez addressed the media in a pre-match press conference ahead of Barcelona’s crucial Champions League tie against Napoli, emphasizing the significance of the upcoming clash and the team’s preparedness:

“It’s a night to show your identity and have personality,” asserted Xavi, setting the tone for Barcelona’s approach to the match.

Reflecting on past performances against strong opponents, Xavi highlighted the need for a similar display against Napoli: “We have played good games against big teams. Real Madrid, although we lost in the League, Atlético, Naples. We have to play a game similar to the one there, but be more forceful in the areas.”

Acknowledging the enthusiasm of club president Joan Laporta, Xavi expressed hope for a memorable evening: “Laporta didn’t go down today, but he does it almost in every game. He is very motivated and excited, like us, I hope we have a magical night.”

When discussing potential tactical decisions, Xavi remained tight-lipped: “I’m not going to give clues to the rival coach and I haven’t told the players either. Whoever plays, there are guarantees.”

The Barcelona coach did, however, offer his synopsis of Napoli’s tactics heading into the game, adding, “I expect a brave Napoli that plays from behind and presses high, that does not speculate, has a lot of individual levels, the three up top have a lot of quality, it is a big game and it is a great team, current champion of Italy.”

Xavi also acknowledged Napoli’s improvement under their new coach but remained focused on Barcelona’s strengths and objectives: “Napoli have improved with the new coach, more dynamic and comfortable. Our absences are important, but we have to compete. We were better there and we have to be better here.”

Talking about certain Napoli individuals, Xavi particularly pointed out Stanislav Lobotka, even expressing his desire to sign the Slovenian superstar. “I like Lobotka, he builds and doesn’t lose balls. I would like to see him in a club like Barça.”

The Barcelona coach also offered an update on the fitness of Ferran Torres, adding, “Ferran’s thing is not a relapse, it’s the feelings, and I hope he is against Atlético.”

Xavi praised the versatility and contributions of Andreas Christensen, dismissing the notion of him being solely a defensive asset: “Christensen just to defend? It is difficult for a midfielder to create chances and he already gave an assist against Getafe. He is giving more than we thought, it is a positive change. He can filter passes.”

Assessing the competition in Europe, Xavi expressed confidence in Barcelona’s ability to compete with any team: “I don’t see better teams in Europe, I see different teams. We can compete with anyone. What changes are our economic circumstances.”

Xavi went on to urge youngsters such as Pau Cubarsi and Lamine Yamal to seize the opportunity presented by the match: “To Lamine and Cubarsí, the same, that they enjoy it, that at 16 and 17 years old it is spectacular that they can be there, it is an opportunity to be among the eight best in Europe, that they compete.”

Xavi highlighted the importance of the club’s success over individual accolades: “Again. I’m not the important one. It’s a day of being united and I’m going to tell the players not to be afraid, that we have to take a step forward to be in the quarterfinals after four years without being.”

Xavi emphasized the magnitude of the match and Barcelona’s readiness to rise to the occasion: “Most important match of the season? Yes, it is, and we are prepared, with enthusiasm. We haven’t been in the quarterfinals for four years and that’s how we propose it.”

“We want to compete against an opponent who, although not having the best moment, has “the base of the scudetto champion. We need a full stadium,” he added.

As someone who has played in countless high-profile matches during his career, Xavi advised his team to control emotions as well.

“When I say competing it is also the control of emotions, not having expulsions, patience in the game, the small details are key in the Champions League. I am not important tomorrow, I have an expiration date, what is important is the club, I do not prioritize the person, but the club, and we all have to be united,” he said.

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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