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Xavi Hernández spoke to the press on the day before his first Clásico at Spotify Camp Nou, including comments about the rival team's respective form and Pedri's fitness. Here's are some of the standout comments from the coach:
"They're strong. Very strong, recently. They're physically much better than they were in January. I'm sure they'll put our defence under pressure."
"This Madrid team is the European champion and they won the last league comfortably. It'll be a tight game, and I say we have a 50% chance."
"We'll try to control the game more than we did last time in the cup at the Bernabéu."
"We always try to press up front. That's our style. In the Super Cup we competed well with the ball and in the Copa del Rey we did without it. If we can do both, we should win, but I suffer when my team doesn't have the ball. We're defending well, but we need to dominate games more."
"This game could be decisive if we win it, but it's not like a grand final. If we win it would build up a huge difference, but it wouldn't decide the league mathematically."
"We know what a big chance this is because it would be such a huge step forward. We are very motivated."
"Pedri was a close thing. We knew there was a risk. Yesterday he trained but didn't feel 100 %. It's best for him to rest and recover properly. We always discuss how players are feeling and yesterday it wasn't good. We don't want to lose Pedri for another two months."
"I get excited about Clásicos, they motivate me. And it's a nice scenario because we have so much to win. It's my first Clásico as a coach at Spotify Camp Nou, so it's especially motivating."
"Araujo is a very strong player and he loves defending. He's responsible. He's a world class defender, one of the best in the world. And he's a guarantee."
"When he's faced Vinícius, he's come out on top. But Vinícius makes a difference. I like him a lot as a player and we'll need to be careful with him."
"Raphinha has a spectacular personality for playing for Barça. He has put up with criticism in bad times and now we are benefiting a lot from having him, with his assists and goals. It is his first year at Barça and he deserves what he's getting because he's worked so hard."
"They won't destabilise us with all this that's happening. What I do know is that we won quite legally. I never sensed that we were winning thanks to the referees. If I felt that, I'd have gone home. I don't want to benefit that way."
"We are just focused on competing. We try to keep natural with the players and not get distracted by all that can happen at a club like this."
"What the president says is to be respected. He is the leader of this project. I don't want to add anything to a topic that has already been spoken about a lot."
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