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22.01.2009 14:01

Xavi: “We are favourites against Espanyol”

Roger Bogunyà

After the 0-0 draw in the first leg, Xavi Hernández feels Barça must be favourites to reach the semi finals: “We are at home for the second leg and with our fans, I think everything is in our favour”.

The Barça midfielder is not holding back. He feels that last night’s goalless draw still means his own side is in prime position to make it into the last four. “We never said it would be easy. The fact we didn’t play like we always do at Montjuïc is not to take merit away from us. Espanyol deserve the merit for that.”

Lack of rhythm

espanyol-fcb_x14x.jpgGoing into details, Xavi said Barça failed to play well “because of the rhythm of the game: Espanyol played with a lot of pace, skill and aggression”. He is convinced Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival had a lot to do with that. “The new manager has given them character and you could tell” he said.

Names don’t mean a thing

QM3D9376.jpgNeither does Xavi think the failure to win was a result of the starting eleven picked by Guardiola. “We have won other times and done well with these same players ... whoever plays, the philosophy is still the same.” He sent a message out to the press that “for us there is no A team and B team. That’s what you lot say. For us, every player is important”.

Revenge against Numancia

Putting the cup aside for the moment, next up is a league game with Numancia, and Xavi admitted that his side are keen to get revenge for the defeat suffered in Soria five months ago: “There is always revenge in football. You always have thorns in your side. Now we are on a good run and don’t want it to end, although there is ‘Numantine Wall’ ahead of us”.
Xavi: “We are favourites against Espanyol”

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Fully fit
Asked about his fitness, Xavi Hernández said he is feeling on fine form: “I am feeling great. Everyone is planning things well. We are training properly. I have spoken to the others and we all agree”. The player doubts there will be any drop in fitness over the course of the coming months and doesn’t think playing twice a week should be a major issue as long as some players get some rest, as occurred last night at Montjuïc. “The games where some players sit things out will help us reach the end of the season in peak condition. I am sure we’ll be strong going into the months of March, April and May

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