Xavi Heaps Praise On FC Barcelona Players Following Real Betis Win

Xavi Hernandez heaped praise on his FC Barcelona players following their gutsy 2-1 win away at Real Betis in La Liga on Wednesday night.

Thanks to goals from Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski, the Catalans went 2-0 ahead in the tie until a Jules Kounde own goal gave the Andalusians late hope.

Barca never seemed in any real danger of completely squandering their lead, though, and held on for an impressive victory at the Benito Villamarin that put them eight points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid at the summit.

In his post-match interview, Xavi Hernandez said that his men played a “very brilliant game” against “a great team”.

“They made it difficult for us at the end, it’s true…. We had the chance for the third with a header from Ansu and then we were unlucky with the own goal, but we played a great game at a very difficult stadium,” the coach explained.

“We took the ball away from Betis and minimised them. I’m very happy because the team had attitude, mobility, ‘pausa’, we played for a long time in the opposition half…. I was thrilled when the whole team came back in the 83rd minute. If everyone works like that and runs like that…,” Xavi trailed off.

Xavi stressed that while his team “are leaders and we are eight points behind second, who have a game in hand” they remain “solid in defence and good in many moments of the game”.

“We are working well, we are on the right track. I see the team competing and enjoying many moments. I can see that they are hungry for success,” he added.

Taking the opportunity afforded to him to shine in the absence of the injured Ousmane Dembele, Raphinha was highlighted by his manager.

“He presses, runs and makes the difference, like Lewandowski, who has scored again and always works for the team,” Xavi noted.

Regarding Gavi, who wore Xavi’s old number ‘6’ jersey for the first time after his new contract was finally registered, Xavi said: “I felt a bit nostalgic because I can’t wear it anymore. I think Gavi will wear it for many years if everything goes well. He is a heart with legs.”

With the squad in high spirits, Barca now have to wait three days until their next match when they receive Betis’ struggling cross city rivals Sevilla at Camp Nou at the weekend.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2023/02/02/xavi-heaps-praise-on-fc-barcelona-players-following-real-betis-win/