Xavi described midfielder Gavi as “the future of Barcelona” after his performance in Saturday’s 3-2 LaLiga win over Elche.
The Catalans claimed just their third win since Xavi took over as head coach, although they were made to work for the result at Camp Nou.
A dominant first half saw them go into the break 2-0 ahead, with Ferran Jutgla heading in the opener before Gavi opened his Barca account with a stunning solo run and finish.
The 17-year-old became the youngest player to score in LaLiga this season, overtaking Real Madrid’s 18-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, and the third-youngest for Barca in Spain’s top flight this century.
Elche produced a stirring comeback in the second half as Tele Morente and Pere Milla scored within the space of a minute, ending a 43-year wait for a goal against the Blaugrana in the competition.
It took a superb finish from substitute Nico Gonzalez to secure all three points and move Barca to within three points of the top four.
Gavi’s performance was a highlight, though, the midfielder completing all 35 of his first-half passes and producing the key assist for Nico’s winner in the closing minutes.
Xavi said of the rising star: “It’s amazing to have him, how he competes, what he creates, the goal, the assist. He’s spectacular, he’s the future of this club.
“Gavi is excited by the way he plays and competes, and that’s priceless for a coach.”
Before the game, Xavi had suggested some of his players had shown a worrying lack of understanding of positional play, and he felt that was on show during the contest.
Indeed, the former Barca midfielder felt they should have been smarter without the ball when it came to stopping Elche’s rare attacks.
“Positional play isn’t working and that continues to surprise me,” he said. “Elche’s goal is a huge mistake from us. We can’t progress in this way; we could have made three fouls.
“It’s a shame, but we’re playing with youngsters who are the ones that make the difference.
“It was like a final. It was a game that we complicated for ourselves. They survived because of our mistakes and that can’t be. A game you have under control can’t be like that. We have to learn and have more responsibility.
“We have to learn and that’s the only way to win.”
However, on the importance of the result, he added to Barca TV: “For us, for how we are, these are three golden points.
“Being positive, we played an excellent first half, we were able to score more goals. We understood the spaces well, the wide players were two daggers, the defensive line was really good.”
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