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Xavi’s entourage aim dig at Barcelona president for his comments: “We’ll see in January”

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Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images

Joan Laporta’s recent public criticism of the team’s physical conditioning during an interview with the club’s official media has taken Xavi’s coaching staff by surprise and even caused some irritation, claims a report from AS

Laporta claimed that he and several members of the Sports Commission observed a decline in the players’ physical performance after the 60th minute of matches, using this season’s El Clasicos as an example. 

He suggested that the team appeared sluggish in the final 30 minutes of games, which he believed led to a loss of competitiveness and ultimately, a lack of titles.

Laporta referred to incorrect data

In response, Xavi’s team clarified that the data Laporta referred to about the team’s physical decline after the 60th minute is “completely incorrect.” 

They provided several pieces of evidence to dispute Laporta’s claims. Firstly, they highlighted that the team scored more goals after the 60th minute, with 52% of their goals coming in the latter stages of matches. 

Furthermore, the team has also conceded fewer goals during the last 30 minutes, with only 38% of goals against them occurring in this period.

Xavi’s coaching staff has presented a counter-argument after Joan Laporta’s statement. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Additionally, they noted that Barcelona have been one of the teams covering the most distance on the pitch. This season, they ranked fifth in kilometres logged, with Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Bilbao leading the ranking. 

Last season, Barcelona was second in this table. Xavi’s staff explained that the slight drop in ranking this season could be attributed to the absence of key physical players like Ousmane Dembele and Gavi, the latter of whom has been out injured since November.

What did Laporta say exactly?

Laporta mentioned that improvements in this aspect were expected under Hansi Flick, but Xavi’s staff defended their current physical preparation efforts, describing their work as “excellent.” 

They particularly emphasized the professionalism of Ivan Torres, who has been heavily involved in the team’s physical training. Despite not being directly named, Torres seems to be the primary target of Laporta’s criticism. 

Xavi’s team remains confident, suggesting that by January, it will be evident that it will be challenging to surpass the current physical performance metrics they have achieved with the squad.

“We’ll see in January. Ivan Torres (physical trainer) has been working 10/10, the team can’t be improved physically more than it is now,” said Xavi’s representative in response to Laporta’s claim that improvement in physical aspects is necessary.

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