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12.04.2010 14:37

Xavi ready for challenges

Vanessa Forns

Xavi Hernández is sure that the team is so good and in such high spirits that they have all it takes “to once again deal with this year’s challenges”.

But he also called for prudence when he said “this has not finished yet”. He was delighted to win at the Bernabéu, but more than three points and settling the head-to-head goal difference in their favour, its was “a very important step forward in terms of confidence and morale … but although it’s a very good situation, we haven’t done anything yet. There are still 21 points to play for and a lead of three is not much. There’s a long way still to go.”

Not champions yet

He says that “nobody in the squad feels like a champion yet .. there is a lot of League left and some difficult away matches. It will be very tough to the end, and we have to be prudent. Madrid won’t throw in the towel until they are mathematically out of it. We have to keep working because there’s a lot left to do”.

The right track

Xavi knows they have seven crucial games ahead of them. “We are at the best we have been all season. Yes, there’s pressure, but everything is so close that we just want to play. There’s no tiredness, just motivation to be successful. … they won’t be easy games, but we are the right track”.

Better at the Bernabéu

2010-04-10_COSAS_222.JPGTwo days after winning 2-0 at the Bernabéu, that game was always going to be the topic of conversation. Xavi felt Barça were “far superior to the opposition. Leaving the Bernabéu after winning and being the better team is a really great feeling. We played a very complete game, we did really well”.

Triumphant model

He also used the analogy of the win in Madrid being a triumph of the Barça way of approaching the game. “We like winning like that, with home produced talent, and applying our philosophy as we have done for so many years.” Against Real Madrid, Xavi felt “we did justice to our style of play”.

Barça in good health

He reiterated time and again that “Barça were superior to Real Madrid … we were very compact, played good football, perhaps not extraordinary, but we took control of the game and that made us feel comfortable”. Xavi was asked how he thinks the defeat will affect Pellegrini’s side, but merely responded that “we are in fantastic health right now. We aren’t that interested in what happens to other clubs. We’d do well not to look elsewhere.”

Guardiola’s role

Guardiola put the credit down to his players, but Xavi made it patently clear that “Guardiola gives us order, discipline, and fantastic tactical ideas. He’s the perfect coach. What he is doing is extraordinary; he is a very brave coach.”

Praise al round

When singling out particular colleagues, the Catalan couldn’t avoid mentioning Víctor Valdés. “He is playing brilliantly, and getting better every day. It’s fantastic to have him, it’s amazing”. He also spoke about Messi, saying “he’s incomparable, the number one, and anyone who compares themselves with Leo has been proven wrong. He is better than anybody”.

And as for Pedro, Xavi made it clear that “I wasn’t surprised. If you watch him train and watch his enthusiasm, how he works for the team, how he reads the game ... He grew up with Pep and that’s important. He has a lot to offer us as a player.”

He also congratulated Gabi Milito, who started at the Bernabéu. “Gabi has gone through tough times. It is great that he is back on top form again. He had a hard time. He’s stating his point, it was his moment.”
Xavi ready for challenges

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Personally content
Xavi was one of the stars at the Bernabéu, and supplied the passes for Messi and Pedro to score. “I felt very comfortable on the pitch. A lot depends on your team mates and they lost their markers perfectly for the final passes. It is nice to be appreciated. I am pleased with a job well done” he said.

He also added that although scoring goals “is a unique sensation”, he is just as happy to supply assists, which is his finest virtue.

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