Xavi promised Barcelona will “keep fighting” until it is mathematically impossible to win the LaLiga title after moving into second place on Sunday.
A hard-fought 1-0 win against Sevilla at Camp Nou came thanks to a well-taken Pedri goal, and it saw Barca leapfrog their opponents and Atletico Madrid in the table.
They remain 12 points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, but Barca ended Sevilla’s 15-game unbeaten run in the league, and are now undefeated in 14 LaLiga games themselves.
Speaking after the victory, Xavi was upbeat despite the big gap between his team and Madrid, who Barcelona thrashed 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in their last game away from home.
“I am very positive, I believe in work, effort, sacrifice and collective work,” Xavi told reporters. “We are very good. We are supportive, we all work, we run. With this base, the results should come.
“This is the best moment of the season. We have dominated a great opponent, with the best defence in LaLiga. [Sevilla] are a super team, and [Julen] Lopetegui is a magnificent coach.”
Barca have now kept a clean sheet in three consecutive league games at Camp Nou for the first time since a run of four between February and June in 2020.
Xavi said his team did not think about “sending a message”, but he was pleased with the efforts of the fans and insisted the players will try to chase down Madrid.
“We didn’t send a message to anyone,” he added. “We sent it to ourselves. We won and enjoyed ourselves.
“The atmosphere was extraordinary. And in LaLiga, as long as the numbers don’t say otherwise, we’ll keep fighting.”
3 – @FCBarcelona have kept a clean sheet in three consecutive @LaLigaEN games at Camp Nou (W3) for the first time since a run of 4 between February and June in 2020 (W4). Effect. pic.twitter.com/9TYlf5ZOkG
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 3, 2022
The Blaugrana head coach also had words of praise for the match-winner, suggesting that teenager Pedri “has no comparison”.
“He is a super player,” said an enthused Xavi. “He has scored an extraordinary goal. He makes a difference. It is a spectacle to watch him play, and he is only 19 years old.
“It does not surprise me. He has no comparison. I encourage him to shoot, but he is a passer and he has in mind the last pass, the decisive one. But he doesn’t realise that he has to try [to shoot]. Today he scored a great goal.”
Pedri was pleased with that strike and is enjoying playing in an emerging Barca side under Xavi. The teenager has scored two goals in his last seven LaLiga games, as many as in his previous 34 appearance in the competition. This was also his first goal from outside the box for the Catalan giants.
“[The goal was] similar to the one in Turkey [against Galatasaray in the Europa League],” Pedri told reporters after the game.
“We press better [under Xavi], more calm, and we have a lot of firepower with the [January] signings.
“We know that it is difficult [to catch Madrid], but we are Barca, and we have to fight to be first.”
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