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Xavi talks Lewandowski, Roque, De Jong, Cancelo, Roberto after Las Palmas 1-2 Barcelona

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Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

FC Barcelona started the year on a positive note, thanks to a 2-1 win over Las Palmas. The three points helped the club remain in the third position in the league table.

However, it was, by no means, a walk in the park for the Catalans, who had to rely on a late goal from Ilkay Gundogan to seal all three points.

Speaking after the game, Barcelona coach Xavi was not entirely happy with the team’s performance. But he praised the display in the second half.

“In the second half we did well. In the first half, we saw easy spaces in behind the defence but we rushed passes. In the second half we were more calm,” Xavi said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).

“We came back against a team that no team had come back against this season. I had a lot of faith. At half-time, I told the players that we would win 1-3,” he added.

Crucial three points for Xavi’s men (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The Spaniard, though, did point out a few flaws in Barcelona’s performance. “The key of the match was to attack the space in behind their defence. We trained for that the whole week, but we didn’t do well. A lot of offsides, horizontal passes, and low precision. We had to be diagonal,” he said.

Talking about certain instances in the game, Xavi did take the blame for the goal conceded. But the coach also pointed out that Barça deserved the penalty during the final stage of the game.

“The goal that we conceded was our mistake,” Xavi said. “There is always tension. There are many things when playing a football match – nerves, pressure – but if you talk to me about the penalty, for me it is a clear penalty.”

Xavi also hit back at the critics, especially when asked about changes in the lineup. “Don’t look for controversy in the line-up changes. Everyone works for the team, there is no problem,” he said.

Xavi issued another feisty response when asked about Barcelona trailing Real Madrid by a considerable margin.

“You always make negative assumptions about me. You don’t do that to other managers. We won and that didn’t happen, so it’s absurd to talk about it, no?” the coach added.

Xavi went on to point out the growing competition in La Liga and how it is to churn out three points week in week out.

“La Liga is very equal. Beating any team is difficult. We will hardly win by thrashing, look at the games. We are alive, respect the current champions,” he said.

Finally, Xavi issued an update on the injury of Joao Cancelo, who had to leave the pitch after picking up a knock against Las Palmas.

Xavi is not particularly worried about Cancelo’s injury and is hopeful of his quick return. “Cancelo’s injury doesn’t seem serious, but they have to do tests on him,” he said.

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