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At the Ciutat Esportiva on Friday Xavi Hernández gave his first pre-game press conference as FC Barcelona coach ahead of Saturday's debut for the new boss at home to Espanyol. The former Barça midfielder appeared confident and optimistic ahead of the La Liga derby with his squad eager to improve and turn the situation around in the league.
“We have to try and control our emotions because we are playing in a derby and we cannot slip up. There will be tension, nerves but I have confidence in my players. I am very excited by what I have seen in training, plenty of intensity and pace. I am liking what I am seeing with the team having a great attitude. We are tight group, a family and that's what it is all about. Now we have to turn those positives into a good result," commented Xavi to the assembled media.
More from Xavi Hernández's press conference:
The day to day
“We believe that if we play how we want, that's how to get the three points. We have to communicate the players that we need the win but we cannot pressure them because we are just starting the project."
"We have not had a lot of days to work together but the idea is clear. It's a question of values, attitude, hard work and sacrifice. I hope we can start to see things tomorrow."
"Obviously we will be judged by results but day to day training and the squad's ability to work together has been very positive. I think we can get that in competition too."
“I am here to make decisions. I will do everything so that things work out well. It's not just professional but personal. I am a Barça fan, always have been, and I want this to work. I want to get across that we have to give 100% and that we cannot let the fans down. We at least have to show attitude, effort and respect. The fans need to feel proud even when we don't win."
I am a Barça fan, always have been and we at least have to show attitude, effort and respect. The fans need to feel proud even when we don't win“
"I like the talent that there is in the squad. If you play with pressing, possession, control than you can see the talent; they pick it up quick. The intensity has surprised me, the desire to do well. We have spoken to them individually and as a group and we have given them the welcome but I think it's necessary to start competing from tomorrow."
“I know Dani Alves well and he will help us a lot. He has character, attitude and he is positive person, a winner. He will also help us on the field. He is in good shape, we have seen him play and he passed the medical. He is strong physically."
“Gavi is an all round player, good in defence and attack. He is a very important player for us. He is young but he is here now. We need him for now and the future."
"Memphis is an important player for us. He needs to be involved with the ball and he can attack the space. He can score, take players on and is good at set pieces. He is very versatile and can be the difference."
"Coutinho has to get his confidence back. He can help us a lot. He has talent but he has to find himself. He will a chance, I like him a lot and I think he could be important."
"For the player he is, Frenkie de Jong has to be a match winner. He has to lead in defence and in attack. Pressing high, if they pressure us, he has to be a key figure."
The Camp Nou factor
“We need our fans. They should come to Camp Nou to give everything as we will. There will be attitude and sacrifice. We need them to come, to cheer, to sing, to support...we have to be united."
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