Xavi Hernández.

Xavi reckons that the draw was less than Barça probably deserved in Bilbao, whilst accepting the Basques put in a great performance. "On a footballing level, it was the best game of the season. Both teams went for the win and the pace didn't drop. I really enjoyed the time I was on the pitch, it's just a pity we didn't win," he explained in a press conference.

"Duel between brave teams"

Xavi defined the game as "a duel between brave teams. Athletic put in a great performance, but if anybody deserved to win it – we did. If we continue to play like that, plenty of wins will come." Xavi also praised the Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa, "teams are always prepared to play us like that – it just takes a capable and brave coach."

On the right track

Although the draw meant two points dropped and leaves Barça three behind Madrid, Xavi revealed that the Barça players "aren't worried about the gap. We are doing things well. It's three points and there is still a long way to go in the league. We just have to continue playing at the same high technical and physical level." He also referred to the four draws the team have suffered so far this season, "it's just a coincidence. Every game is different. It gets harder every year. Although people say that this is a league of two teams, it's not easy to win, particularly away from home."

No fitness problems

Although he was subbed in the second half, Xavi made it clear that his fitness "is perfect." The midfielder welcomes Guardiola's rotations, "they are logical and necessary. We have a lot of games and to play in all of them would wear us out. We have a lot of top quality players and we don't notice it when we are without one or another."

Xavi also declared he was "very surprised and disappointed" about Zlatan Ibrahimovic's recent comments about his time at the Club, adding "we have all learnt a lot with Guardiola. He explains why we are doing things and the philosophy behind our game."