Despite his sides rejuvenated free-scoring run, Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has averred that they’re not the favorite to win this year’s Europa League.
It would be recalled that the Spanish giants were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stage and are playing in the Europa.
Xavi’s men dismantled their first opponent in Europa League and due to their sterling performances in recent weeks, football pundits are pitching them as the favorite in the Europa League.
However, in a press conference, Xavi said Barcelona are not the favorite.
Xavi: “We’re looking forward to the match. It’s not the Champions League but we’re playing with hope, with good dynamics and if we continue as we are, we should continue like this.”
“The intention is to win the game, continue with good feelings with our game model and with the best result because it won’t be easy in Turkey.”
“If I had arrived earlier, would the situation be different? I don’t know, I thank Laporta for his words, I’m delighted with him, he’s a brave president and a natural leader. A person who is up to the task.”
“Araújo and Gavi? They are two very important players. The club is working very well and they are a priority. It is a process. Sometimes negotiations drag on. We hope for the good of the club that there is an agreement. It’s a matter of time, I think.”
“I don’t see ourselves as one of the favorites in the Europa League. We don’t know the competition, we’ve never won it… Sevilla are more favourites, sure, we’re one of the candidates but this isn’t about moments, You have to prove it on the pitch. Every game is an exam.”
“Tomorrow there will be changes in the XI, there are people who are tired and who accumulate many minutes. Up top and in midfield we have a range of possibilities that we have to take advantage of.”
“Competition for Ter Stegen? Everyone needs competition. Competitiveness is needed because that way everyone improves. When you look to the side and see that someone else does it better, you want to improve.”
“I feel bad putting players on the bench who train very well, like Braithwaite, Riqui, Mingueza and Eric… I insist that they must continue training hard.”
“It’s always a good time to sign for Barça because it’s the best club in the world. I insist that I haven’t seen any player who has said he doesn’t want to play for Barça.”
“Haaland? When you can talk to any player, you tell him what’s here, our way of playing, of training… Let him know that this is the best club, the city is wonderful… I’ve seen no player who said ‘no’ to Barça.”
“Koeman was a brave coach, he opted for young players who have established themselves and he made that decision. I only have good words for Koeman, but I can’t get into his relationship with the president.”
“Ansu is in the final part of his recovery and we will see if he starts working with the group soon.”