Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez spoke to the media today ahead of his side’s trip to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium tomorrow to face Real Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals. The Catalan discussed his game plan for tomorrow, how he views Real Madrid, and much more.
How will Barcelona approach the game?
“We approach it in the same way as always against Real Madrid. They are a tough rival, who sometimes do not dominate you, but in transition and two touches they plant themselves in your goal. They are a difficult opponent. They beat us there well this season, and we beat them in the Super Cup. This competition is different. Everything will be decided at the Camp Nou. We will go out to win and show our personality. It is an opportunity to win another title.
“We must be more of a team than ever, in defense, attack, strategy... we have to have the ball, be brave, have personality, minimize ball losses... they have strong players and can take advantage of us losing the ball. We have to play with personality like in the Super Cup.
“It motivates me to go to the Bernabéu. I’m going with enthusiasm and desire. I like this healthy football rivalry. It motivates me. I would love to play and have the ball in midfield. Winning at the Bernabéu is a very nice feeling.”
Who is the favourite?
“It’s a Cup semifinal, plus it’s a Clásico. Real Madrid is the favourite, because they are the Champions League and LaLiga champion. Regardless of the Super Cup, they arrive in a good moment. They are the favourite.
”They have won the last titles and we are in the process of building. We beat them with extraordinary football (in the Super Cup), but this Madrid thrashed Liverpool. I have to be honest, they are the favourite. But we can hurt them, we have already shown it. I see the tie equal”.
On stopping Vinicius Jr
“He is making a difference, he is exceptional. He is determined for Real Madrid. He is at a very high level. It is difficult to stop him”.