Xavi confident about team’s progress / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Xavi Hernàndez thinks the game with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou was a good reflection of how strong the team is right now. Although any of FCB’s results in recent meetings at the Santiago Bernabéu would be enough to win the Supercup, it is the buoyant mood among the squad that he feels is most important. “We are physically strong and full of confidence” he said. “We were better than Madrid. We’re feeling great and that confidence will take us forward. What gives us confidence is knowing how well the team is doing. That’s why we are confident, not because of results in previous years”.

Unfair result

Having had time to digest the events of the first leg at the Camp Nou, Xavi explained how “we have a strange feeling of unfairness. We played a great game and were far superior, but only won by a single goal”. A wider margin would have all but settled the tie, but as far he is concerned “we still won and now we have to go there to play for the title. We are confident that when we go to the Bernabéu, we can produce the same football that we did here”.

He doesn’t think the 3-2 scoreline means they have to change any of their plans for the return leg. “When things are tight, Madrid tend to close up shop at the back and look for the counter attack. They’ll be looking to exploit any errors we make in our build-up. They are told to play that way, so we won’t have to change a thing. We just have to make ourselves the protagonists and go out and attack”.

Valdés the best keeper for Barça

Xavi also defended Víctor Valdés against any criticism for Madrid’s second goal. “He has seen everything here and I am convinced that he is the best goalkeeper in the world for Barça. We have every confidence in him. We know he takes risks because he’s a brave keeper. We’ll be encouraging him, but he’s strong and fully prepared for things like this”.

He was also full of praise for Iniesta’s outstanding performance. “He had a great game. I told him he’d been sensational, he made a spectacular difference. Andrés is so strong on the ball and what he does works wonders for us”.

15th season in first team

Xavi Hernàndez is in the first team for the fifteenth year. He says that he is proud to have been here so long, and that “this season I hope to do things right. To carry on being important for the team and to win titles. I just want to have a good season and be useful. I am proud of the work I have done but football has no memory and you have to keep proving yourself day after day”.

He also added that he has no intention of retiring from the Spanish national team. “I still enjoy it as much as I did the first day” he insisted.