Saturday, April 1, 2023

Xavi reminds Intercity not to relax in Ceuta

Intercity’s experience is the main argument that Xavi Hernández will use to get the squad activated before traveling to Ceuta, a singular trip in the Cup that includes a plane flight to Malaga and another by helicopter to reach the African continent. The Barça coach named the Alicante team that squeezed the barca in the previous round as an example of what can happen if your players do not put “the five senses” on the field.

More than the trip and the difference in category (Ceuta, in addition, is bottom in its First RFEF group), what worries Xavi the most is managing that the group does not relax. In addition to having recovered the leadership of the League in the resumption after the World Cup, and having surpassed the “near miss” with which they qualified 3-4 against Intercity, Barça has just won their first title with the great victory over Madrid (3-1) which was accompanied by a stellar performance against the whites.

I don’t feel liberated for having won the Super Cup. We have enjoyed it and now we park it. I feel the pressure again to win the Cup, the League, the Europa League…”, says the Barça coach, who would like to transfer that same mentality to the footballers.

Continuity to the Super Cup

Xavi admitted that will insist a lot on warning of the irremediable danger that a night of détente in Ceuta would entail. The tie is still a single match. The Super Cup has instilled a dose of calm and confidence in the dressing room, also “credibility” towards his project outside of it.

The elimination would be a return to the old ways that the technician wants to prevent. “We have to give continuity to the success of the Super Cup”, summarized Xavi. To the success and the state of mind and football of the squad. “We are at our best moment”, he assured, not before remembering that the Cup is a field prone to surprises and that

Busquets lifts, with the Spanish Super Cup, his first trophy as captain. REUTERS

ways to motivate

That was his obsession. It has two ways to achieve the motivation of the squad: completely removing the lineup by including non-starting footballers in it, or using suggestion via oral messages. The starting eleven will remain secret until an hour and a half before the duel, although unusual names will appear. Soccer players like Bellerín, Eric, Ferran and others will appear in the starting eleven. Xavi announced that Ronald Araujo will rest. Possibly also Robert Lewandowski due to a blow to the back.

It would be the opportunity for Memphis Depay to fight for a position up front, but the position of the Dutchman is once again uncertain. Before the World Cup he did not want to reappear with Barça so as not to risk an injury that would prevent him from going to Qatar. Now, he seems predisposed to leave the club and he would not want to jeopardize the transfer with just over two weeks to go before the market closes.

“I’ll talk to him to see what his feelings are,” Xavi said after commenting that he had no news that his departure was imminent. The coach repeated that he does not want to lose any footballer. And if someone leaves, let him be replaced by another. A difficult request to assume due to the salary limit.


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