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In his press conference ahead of the trip to Granada, most of the questions to Xavi Hernandez revolved around injury issues and how they affect the way the team puts his ideas into practice. But all things considered, he still thinks "the team is playing well and our confidence has been boosted by two hard-fought wins."
Frenkie, Pedri, Raphinha and Lewandowski are all unavailable, but Xavi isn't as alarmed as the pressmen seemed to imagine. We do have a rather small squad" he agreed, "but I would hardly say that we are plagued by injuries." After all, the absences have barely been noted in recent games that Barça have won regardless.
Both Pau Víctor and Marc Guiu have been called up for first team duty for the first time. "They're there because we are missing players up front" said Xavi. "We already have plenty of cover in midfield. Lewandowski is a big loss. But luckily the team has plenty of alternatives like Joao, Ferran and the new additions from the reserve team."
The international break has come at a good time because it gives the injured players the chance to get fit again. "Pedri is almost ready, and so are Robert and Frenkie" he said.
Another possible option is to use Christensen as a defensive midfielder. "I wouldn't say that's a first option" was the answer. "Only in emergency situations like last season with Eric [Garcia]. But it's not something I'd totally count out because he has played in that position for Denmark."
As for Granada, "they are a physical side with a lot of strengths in attack. It'll be hard to beat Paco López's team" said Xavi. "But our formula is to stick to the Barça philosophy. We always play attacking football, whether we have three forwards or not. We never change our philosophy."
Against Porto, the team struggled to control the ball and the Barça manager is never happy to see that. "I always want 70% to 80% of the ball. We need to dominate the control both in attack and defence."
"If we win it will be reassuring. But as for going top of the league, that would be nice but right now that's not what matters most"