Monday, January 30, 2023

´No secondary players´ among Barcelona squad as Xavi eyes silverware

SoccerNews in La Liga 19 Jan 2023

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Xavi believes Barcelona have “no secondary players” among their squad, hailing their team effort after brushing aside Ceuta in the Copa del Rey.

A Robert Lewandowski brace, plus goals for Raphinha, Ansu Fati and Franck Kessie saw the Blaugrana sweep past their third-tier hosts on Thursday with a 5-0 victory.

Coupled with their rich form this term in LaLiga, where they have a three-point cushion over rivals Real Madrid, Barca look primed to challenge for silverware.

Former player Xavi, who has steered the club back to steadier waters since his return to Camp Nou, feels he has the team to pull off that pursuit successfully after their latest win.

“The team wants to win, the team is hungry,” he said. “It is not easy to come to grounds like these [and win].

“We have been very professional, and we have shown that we have a great squad. For me, there are no secondary players.

“Here, we have players who have had important games for us, and who are going to have them. Marcos [Alonso], Jordi Alba and [Hector] Bellerin have been extraordinary.”

Despite facing third-tier opposition, Xavi resisted the urge to rest several players days after victory in the Supercopa de Espana, and shortly before a return to LaLiga action against Getafe.

That included veteran forward Lewandowski, whose inclusion among an otherwise youthful team may have raised some eyebrows among fans.

Xavi was clear in his answer however, adding: “We did not want him to be unemployed for two weeks.

“He has shown us the professional that he is. For us, he is perfect, because he has also scored the goals.”

One player not in Xavi’s plans however is Memphis Depay, whose move to Atletico Madrid grew nearer on Thursday after the Dutchman trained with the Rojiblancos.

The coach suggested finding a replacement is more preferable than imperative, adding: “Memphis asked to leave.

“I don’t know if it is official but he is going to Atletico. It wouldn’t be a tragedy [if we didn’t replace him] but it is better if we strengthen ourselves.”

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