Xavi talks Adama, Dembele, Simeone, Gavi after Barcelona defeat Atletico Madrid

Xavi Hernandez was joyous after Barcelona secured a pivotal 4-2 victory over top-four rivals Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Sunday.

The 42-year-old, who was subjected to a dig by his counterpart Diego Simeone in the lead-up to the game, saw his team execute their plans to the tee and come out on top in an impressive display.

Goals from Jordi Alba, Gavi, Ronald Araujo and Dani Alves made sure that the Catalans emerged winners despite goals from Yannick Carrasco and Luis Suarez for Atleti.

Speaking after the game (h/t BarcaTV+), Xavi expressed his pleasure with the outcome, saying: “The fans, the players, the staff… we all needed this victory. We were superior. This is more than just another win.”

The manager also touched upon Dani Alves’ red card, insisting that it forced the team to alter their plans somewhat. “Before Dani was red carded, the game was perfect. We then had to back down a little. The first 60 minutes represent the Barça that we all want,” he said.

Xavi was also full of praise for new signing Adama Traore, who impressed heavily on his second debut for Barça. “Adama has matured a lot. And physically, he is a beast, a monster… In 1v1 situations, you cannot beat him. Adama is the perfect winger for me. I am convinced that he will be great for us,” he exclaimed.

The 42-year-old tactician also added that he was pleased with the progress that the team had made under his tutelage, saying: “It’s been three months since I’ve been here, and we’ve made great progress. I am proud.”

He also said that this match could prove to be the turning point for the rest of the season. “It could be a turning point, but we have to be humble and keep working. We’ve been very good and we can’t slow down. This style of play is what will bear fruit,” Xavi added.

The manager also revealed that he wanted to bring on Ousmane Dembele but the red card changed those plans. He also asked fans to go easy on him after the winger was whistled at by the supporters at the stadium. “I would like to ask the fans to please stop whistling at Dembélé. He is one more in the group,” he said.

“I wanted to sub in Dembélé during the second half. However, Dani’s red card changed our plans. Anyhow, I please ask the fans to stop whistling him,” the Barça gaffer added.

Xavi also touched upon the barb that Simeone had made in the lead-up to the game, replying: “Simeone understands football in another way. If his team does not attack, he is fine with it. He is satisfied. If my team doesn’t have the ball, I am suffering.”

“Simeone is a great coach, who everyone wants to play for. I have incredible respect for him, I’m a beginner. But the two of us want different things on the field. It’s not a criticism, it’s reality,” he added.

“The difference between the football I want and Simeone’s football was pretty clear in the first half, no?,” Xavi later quipped.

The Barcelona boss was also unhappy with the inconsistent calls made by the referee and expressed his displeasure over the matter.

“I want to do a general reflection on the state of football, worldwide. Not specifically because of this game and this referee, but I see inconsistent criteria when it comes to fouls. One day it is a foul, the other one it’s not,” Xavi said.

The manager also stressed the importance of improving his team’s defending against set pieces, saying: “We have to improve a lot in set pieces. They are really good at them, much better than us. We still concede a lot that way. We have a lot to improve in the defensive aspect of the game.”

Explaining his decision to start Gavi on the flanks, Xavi said: “Gavi is very versatile, and can play in multiple positions. Today, we played with a false winger and a false striker. I was looking for superiority in the midfield. Usually I want true wingers, but each game is a different world, and my decisions are determined by that.”

Barcelona move into fourth place in the La Liga standings after the win, two points clear of Atletico and two shy of Real Betis in third

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