Xavi: “We have hit the table”

Barcelona beat Atlético de Madrid and stormed the Cívitas Metropolitano thanks to a solitary goal from Ousmane Dembélé. Xavi Hernández’s team made the most of Real Madrid’s stumble in Vila-real to establish itself in the leadership of LaLiga Santander. The Catalan coach spoke into the DAZN microphones at the end of the match, where he analyzed the Barça victory over the rojiblancos. These were his statements.

It was a difficult game but they pulled it through. What was he looking for with the square?

“The first half hour has convinced me. I think we’ve got it under control. Inside we had the superiority and the play of the goal comes from there, from a numerical superiority inside. There have been three gold points. They have squeezed us, but we have known how to suffer and we have kept a clean sheet. Such is this sport. Today without playing so well, we got three points”.

Shield/Team Flag

Psychologically, are they more than three points?

“I think it’s not just three points because they give morale and tremendous confidence. We have suffered but we have been a team and a family. Without playing excellently like Espanyol and Intercity did on the day, we hit the table to be candidates for LaLiga”.

Did you expect to have endured more minutes against Atlético?

“By changing the system, the footballer is not completely comfortable. Today we played with a 3-4-3 to be more comfortable. He thought he would give us more possession, more neatness. But then Atlético has squeezed us. It is an important victory and without Robert, who for us is a basic piece”.

Looking for a plan similar to February 4-2?

The plan was to dominate, have possession, attack, create superiorities of three against two, four against three… Find moments to look for Pedri, Balde… When we have lowered the high pressure, the changes have arrived. Then Atleti put pressure on you too, it’s difficult to go man to man. It has been a team victory.

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Araújo is being decisive…

He is an extraordinary defender, just like Christensen, like Balde… Whoever plays, they give their all and as a coach I am proud. Ronald is a leader. I asked him if he was physically okay and he told me yes.

Three points without Lewandowski

And without Jordi. We had significant casualties and we had a very difficult game. In the second part they pressed, the people pressed, they pressed us hard. It is difficult to win in this stadium. I’m very happy. The victory gives us three points ahead of Madrid and even greater with Atleti.

The team shows solidity again…

Very good in defense, very supportive and generous. We have to improve some things, like in this second part, more resources when we get high pressure. But the team has given a lesson in attitude and commitment.

Do you feel that the team has lost control of the match?

We have abused the pass to Ter Stegen. We have been very winners of duels and we have to play more forward and in our own half we have to have more alternatives. Atlético wanted to tie, they have courage and you look bullied. The game has been very good, especially in defense. We have known how to suffer, although I wanted to defend with the ball.

When the rival presses, the need to win in style prevails.

There is a rival that complicates you. We want to dominate, go to the opposite field and be aggressive. My first commandment is to have the ball and I suffer when I don’t have it, but there is a rival that makes it difficult for us. We have had very good phases and others not so good, but in which we have mastered the defensive theme.

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