Xavi talks Raphinha, Alba, Busquets, Frenkie, Kessie after Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the La Liga table to eight points as they secured a resounding 3-0 victory over Sevilla at Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday night.
Jordi Alba, coming into the team for Alejandro Balde, opened the scoring for Barcelona in the second half before Gavi made it 2-0 close to the 70th-minute mark. Raphinha, who had a fine game, netted the third goal to add more sheen to the scoreline.
With Real Madrid losing to Mallorca earlier in the day, Barcelona made sure that they took advantage of the slip-up to put further distance between themselves and their arch-rivals and establish themselves as the clear favourites for the league title.
Manager Xavi Hernandez was elated after the game and praised the performance of his team, but insisted that the title is not won and they must keep going. Here are the excerpts from his interaction with the media after Barcelona defeated Sevilla.
On the match: “We’re happy with the match, but there’s still a long way to go. “It’s important to win matches with comfortable scorelines. We created a lot of chances against a very low block. Things are starting to go well.”
On the eight-point lead: “We have a good winning streak going on, which reflects in the point difference. The second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-placed teams all dropped points this match day. It’s an important win.”
On Jordi Alba’s impact: “Montiel was marking out of position, so Jordi Alba had space to run in behind. He could combine with Gavi or Lewandowski. He gives us a lot of things in attack. He’s a great passer. I’m very happy for him today.”
On Raphinha: “I was already satisfied with Raphinha’s performances, even when he wasn’t scoring nor assisting. He gives us a lot, and he’s an essential player for the team. Raphinha is starting to provide goals and assists. He’s outdoing himself, but he’s been doing well all season.”
On the performance: “This is a proud day. We talked about it at half-time. We’ve made so much progress and I’m so happy. We did very well, a complete match.”
“We didn’t allow Sevilla to respond. We pressed very well for the whole match. We’ve had a lot of good matches that give us a lot of confidence for what’s to come. I can see that the team is working perfectly, and the players are hungry for success.”
On building a big gap over Real Madrid: “We’re eight points clear of Madrid, but that means nothing now. We have to continue.”
On the improvement shown: “We have to remember where we came from, where we were a year ago… to where we are now. Normally we struggle a lot against deep blocks but today we created a lot of chances.”
On Frenkie de Jong: “We found the perfect position for Frenkie de Jong. He’s very happy, you can tell.”
On Sergio Busquets’ injury: “Tests will be performed on Busquets tomorrow. He twisted his ankle. I guess he has a sprain, we’ll see how severe it is.”
On Franck Kessie and Jordi Alba capitalising on their chance: “I always say that every footballer has to be prepared at any moment. For example, Jordi and Kessie, who haven’t played a lot recently, responded magnificently.”
On whether Barcelona are now the favourites to win La Liga: “I see ourselves as candidates to win the league, but the favorite is always the defending Champion. It’s Madrid, and we can’t lower our intensity at any moment. They can beat anyone.”
“This team has the capacity to win every title we’re competing for. But we can’t only say it, we have to show it. Words mean nothing. There have been crazy comebacks in La Liga before. We have to avoid that at all costs.”
“I still don’t think we’re the favorites for La Liga. We’re only in February, and we have any tough matches upcoming. The euphoria is nice, but we have to be cautious.”
On the team’s strong run of form: “I don’t know if we’re the most reliable team in La Liga, but we’re in good form, sure. We can’t let our guard down. Our work is starting to show. The players believe in themselves and they believe in us.”
“Beating Madrid in the Supercup gave us a lot of confidence. There were a lot of players that hadn’t won a title before that. As the good results come, the players start to believe more in the technical staff.”