Xavi talks Kounde, Pedri, Gavi, Lewandowski, referees ahead of Barcelona vs Inter Milan

Barcelona will be aiming to end their two-game losing streak in the UEFA Champions League when they face Inter Milan at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Having lost the last two matches against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, the Catalans are left in third place in Group C, with them needing to win the match tomorrow in order to keep their hopes of progressing alive.

Ahead of the game, manager Xavi Hernandez spoke to the media and addressed several questions, including the injury situation and the team’s form.

On the Inter Milan game: “We expect Inter to play very similar to how they played in Milan. They have a low block, but we have alternatives. We are ready, we have to look like the Barça of the last 20 minutes in Milan. It’s a final for us.”

On the importance of the match: “Tomorrow’s game is crucial, we haven’t done our homework and now we have a chance to pull ourselves together in the group. We’re in an uncomfortable situation but we’ll give it all.”

On his tactics against Inter: “We need to attack better. I think in the first half we didn’t understand the role of Marcos Alonso and Raphinha. We have to be more vertical, more aggressive.”

On managing the psychological aspect within the squad: “Being positive, of course, there is pressure and difficulties but we are going to face them with courage and personality, we have no other choice. I try to make the players see it as a final.”

On his request to the fans: “Since I’ve been coach they’ve given us some good moments, Camp Nou has to be on fire tomorrow and we’re going to give our all to win the three points. We need the fans.”

On Jules Kounde: “We’re not counting on him for the match against Inter, barring any surprises… For El Clasico we’ll see, he could be available but it will depend on his sensations. He is training hard. My feeling is that he will be available for El Clasico.”

His message to the players: “We must not let our guard down. There is talent, there is a desire for revenge, so we have to give everything to win tomorrow.”

On the game against Celta Vigo: “I think we lowered our intensity and Celta are capable of stealing your personality. Tomorrow we have to press high and not lower the intensity.”

On if he would be happy to win 1-0 vs Inter: “No, I want to win 2-0. It’s better.”

On the mindset for tomorrow’s game: “Tomorrow we have to be calm, to know how to position ourselves, we don’t need to score in the first minute. I always tell the players that the pressure is on me. We have to be patient, but if we attack like we did in the second half in Milan, I’m optimistic.”

On how he wants his team to excel: “For me, playing well means having the ball, and attacking, but I understand other methodologies. That’s why I wasn’t satisfied against Celta.”

On Pedri and Gavi connecting just three times in the last match: “We have to improve that. We found ourselves with individual marking and it was difficult for us to make those connections. We have to attack more from the second line.”

Gavi and Pedri will be key for Barcelona (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

“But in the end, that’s how the 3-5-2 formation works. That’s why our wingers received a lot of balls, but we’ll try to attack in different zones.”

On the prospect of elimination from the Champions League: “It would be a big disappointment but let’s think positive. We want to stay alive. We are in an uncomfortable situation but tomorrow we have a final to try to fix it.”

On the referees: “We had a logical indignation but now we think about football. We are not at the level we were a few weeks ago. If we improve our level, maybe we won’t have to talk about referees.”

On Inter’s defensive gameplan: “We have a very clear way of attacking so that we feel comfortable. If they change their system, it doesn’t matter much to us. We have a clear idea to go out and win tomorrow.”

On Lewandowski: “It’s not Lewy’s day, it’s the team’s day. He has to be important but not just tomorrow, every game. We have to take a step forward with Lewy. We have to play more with him so that he feels more comfortable. We haven’t played much with him in the last few games.”

On playing vertically against a low block: “When they make a mistake with the ball… They will have to attack at some point. They lose the ball, and we have to be more aggressive with the ball.”

On directing the anger to win: “Let’s be optimistic that it will be positive. We want to justify that we were the best and deserved more. I hope our anger will help us to play a better offensive match.”

On the whistles towards Jordi Alba and Ferran Torres: “We try to get the fans to help us, to be positive, I don’t think about anything else. I’m thinking that things will go well. I want them to be proud of the team.”

On Frenkie de Jong: “He’s fine, he’s coming off a small injury, we’ll see if he’s ready to start or maybe in the second half.”

On Joan Laporta’s presence in training: “They hadn’t told me that the president was coming. But that’s fine: we’re a family, and it’s good to be united. Tomorrow we need that: the team, the fans, the club are united. We have an opportunity.”

Source: BarçaTV+

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