In the absence of footballers and with the directive waiting and waiting for the winter market, Barça clings to the determination of Xavi Hernández. “You have to do a reset general and amine the team. The feeling is that defeat has been established here and that cannot happen, “he said at the press conference prior to the game this Sunday against Osasuna. The Barça coach demands, for now, “more soul, more professionalism, more courage, more desire, more enthusiasm,” he said in line with the speech he already offered in Munich on Wednesday after the elimination of the Champions League.
The immediate challenge is to win in Pamplona with a team decimated by the injuries of Memphis, Ansu Fati, Agüero, Braithwaite, Pedri and Jordi Alba, and disappointed by a dynamic of poor results that also affects their chances of qualifying among the top four of the league. “I am worried and busy at work,” Xavi said. “That does not stop. And now we have an opportunity to continue growing, to regain sensations and score three points. We have improved on pressure after loss, on the defensive high line and in certain aspects of the game. But we have to return Barça to the place it deserves and that means competing with teams like Bayern ”.
And he added: “You have to regain feelings and you have to win, starting with the Sadar game. It is another final and we cannot lose more points, we cannot give anything away. There is no other choice but to work hard ”.
In the opinion of the Barcelona coach, Osasuna “defends very well in his area and concedes few goals”, a circumstance that complicates the game for his team, which has won in three of its last five visits to Pamplona. The lack of troops in attack can lead to Luuk de Jong, practically unprecedented with Xavi except for the eight minutes he played against Betis: “He trains very well, he is a great professional. You can give us different solutions. We have to adapt to injuries and Luuk is one of the solutions; We have to take advantage of it ”, clarified Xavi, who has quoted the forward of the subsidiary Ferran Jutglà.
“We have a problem of spirit and also of game,” Xavi insisted. “Against Bayern the psychological factor weighed, but also the football factor,” he added. There are times when we do not understand what to do, how to find the free man, and various details. It is necessary to return to recover the soccer identity of the Barça. And that also means being brave, daring more. I think there is a level to continue competing and end up winning titles ”. The aspiration is to add nine points in the meetings against Osasuna, Elche and Sevilla, before the Christmas break. “We will then see where we are, what market there is and what we can do,” he said. “It is true that we are linked hand and foot due to the economic issue, but we will look for solutions to improve the squad. For now, if we look at the Pamplona game, all the players I have are non-transferable ”.
Xavi was also asked about Albert Benaiges, one of the leading figures of Barça youth football, after he was denounced for alleged abuse of minors at a school in the Les Corts neighborhood, according to the newspaper Ara. “It is a very complicated and delicate subject. We love Benaiges very much and he has surprised us. Justice will have to pass sentence, but I have no news of any such episode happening here. He had no suspicions. I am surprised and affected ”.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.