Barcelona are ready to lock horns with Real Madrid for the fourth time this season as the two parties are set to meet at the Camp Nou.
The Catalans have seen two out of the three previous results go in their favour, but tomorrow’s game could go a long way in determining the title race in La Liga.
Both coaches come into the game looking for nothing but a win. Xavi also spoke to the media for his pre-game press conference, almost simultaneously as Carlo Ancelotti.
On the game: “We will try to have control with the ball. We want to be better than the Copa del Rey match. Real Madrid have been doing very well lately.”
On the favourites for tomorrow: “I think it’s 50-50. We have our fans and they will support us, but I think tomorrow’s game is 50% for both teams.”
“If we win tomorrow, it’ll be a very important victory. It certainly will not decide the league, though.”
On Pedri’s injury: “These are matches where you need to be at 100%. If the feelings are not good, there is no need to impose anything. It is not a final match and there will still be 12 matches left, it is not decisive. We don’t want to lose Pedri for another two months.”
On Araujo vs Vinicius: “Araujo is physically strong and fast, he reads the opponent very well. He is a leader, aggressive, and a high-level centre-back. Vini is also a great player, he has a strong personality, too, not just Ronald.”
On Diego Simeone’s statement: “One thing is the result and the other ting is the style. We will never change that. We will always go out with high pressure and we want to take possession of the ball. The idea has not changed. Barcelona won the UCL 1-0 with a goal from Koeman and nobody said anything. I don’t have to convince anyone.”
On Negreira case: “We talked a lot with Laporta. Everything he says goes straight to the masses. I don’t want to talk about it because a lot has already been said. We have to focus on tomorrow’s game.”
On Raphinha: “He is a footballer I like, he knows how to work and take criticism during bad patches. He has proven a lot already in his first year at Barcelona. I’m happy for him, he deserves this.”
“Raphinha is fine, he’s calm. We did not talk to him about not being called up to the national team. I can’t interfere with what’s happening in the Brazilian national team because it does not concern me.”
On Kounde and Araujo: “We are lucky to have Kounde and Araujo, both of whom can adapt in different positions. Depending on the opposition player, we’ll see from where we can get the best out of the ball. It’s great that we can switch positions like that.”
On Dembele-Pedri’s absence: “We can rise to the best level even in the absence of Pedri and Dembele. We did that before with the absence of Lewandowski and Pedri.”
On Gavi: “I think it’s been a long time since I first heard that Gavi is a butcher. I know where these comments are coming from. We have to protect him. He’s training well. It won’t go in bad faith.”