Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez spoke to the media today ahead of his side’s visit to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow to face Real Madrid in what promises to be a mouth-watering El Clasico.
“We don’t have Ronald, who stopped Vinicius very well last year,” Xavi said. “Whoever plays there will have to be very good and will need coverage. I see more of a collective effort. It’s not just Vinicius that worries me”.
Xavi said his side are motivated to play against Real Madrid, and El Clasico is always a big occasion.
“I like playing against Real Madrid,” Xavi explained. “I’m competitive. I’d like to continue being a footballer to play this type of match.... It’s spectacular to play a match like this. Motivation is maximum, it’s an opportunity to emerge as leaders of the competition”.
Xavi then spoke about some tactical things before confirming that Jules Kounde is back to full fitness. “We want to attack as a block and in a positional way,” The Barcelona coach said. “We want to submit them in their field. Another thing is the profile of players that we have. But we have to be mature.
“Last year can serve as a reference: Be brave, play with personality, have patience... they feel comfortable in low and medium blocks... We want to attack in a compact way. We have to be brave. Last year we didn’t arrive there at a good time, and this time, in LaLiga, we have.
“Kounde is fine, one hundred percent. He’s trained well and the feeling is good. We’ll see tomorrow.”
Finally, Xavi spoke about the importance of getting three points tomorrow.
“It’s three points, but it’s the morale and the confidence to win a Clásico,” Xavi said. “It’s vital for us and for Real Madrid. Let’s see who comes out on top. But the project... is still under construction. The slump in the Champions League makes us angry, but we are on the right track. We are in a splendid situation in LaLiga. In Europe the score is not good, but the project is under construction and it cannot be destroyed now”.