Xavi talks Pedri, Raphinha, Roberto, Fati following Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United
Barcelona and Manchester United played out 90 minutes of electric football at Spotify Camp Nou to set up a blockbuster second leg at Old Trafford next week. The tie came at a huge cost, however, for the hosts as they lost both Pedri and Gavi for the upcoming game.
United was the side with the better chances on the night, although Barcelona at their fluid best seemed the better-rounded team. From uncalled penalties to unnecessary bookings, the game had it all in equal measure.
Xavi Hernandez came under severe criticism for his pre-game decisions that arguably cost Barcelona the game. The manager spoke to the media pitchside after the game and also faced the press in the customary post-match interview. Here are the snippets from the manager’s interaction.
On his judgement of the result: “I think we saw a balanced match. Both teams had chances.”
On the second leg: “We had chances at the end. We leave with the sensation that we should have scored a winning goal. Everything will be decided at Old Trafford.”
On Pedri’s injury: “Pedri has quadriceps discomfort.
On Raphinha’s reaction to being substituted: “Raphinha has apologized for his reaction after the substitution. I understand him. I think it’s fine that he’s frustrated, but I take the best decisions for the team.”
On the unawarded penalty: “I told the referee that the penalty was very clear, as it was a handball out of natural position. He said it’s not a handball, as it was close to his body. For me, it was a clear penalty.”
On the result: “I’m quite satisfied, we don’t like to draw but we have competed against an opponent who has a spectacular level, which is one of the best teams now in Europe. We have equalized intensity, dominated at times and I stay with the character of the final stretch.”
On the game next week: “At Old Trafford it will be a game with a lot of intensity. We can win, we can go there and compete. I’m leaving proud of the team, despite the draw.”
On Fred’s handball: “The second is a penalty like a cathedral. It’s very clear. It seems incredible to me that they haven’t pointed it out.”
On the need for rotations: “Rotations are needed because the calendar is very heavy. Pedri’s injury is a pity.”
On Sergi Roberto: “Sergi Roberto is a very dynamic player, he can give us a lot in midfield positions.”
On Pedri and Gavi being unavailable for the second leg: “We have options without Pedri and Gavi. Frenkie, Sergi, Pablo.”
On Sergio Busquets’ and Pedri’s status: “We’ll recover Busquets for Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll see what Pedri has, one last test is needed.”
On Ansu Fati: “Ansu has made a radical change in his intensity and his rhythm both in attack and in defence. I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Source: Barca TV+
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