"What happens with 1-0? Given the choice, I prefer 5-4 or 5-0 but it's hard to score goals. Whoever hasn't played football and hasn't participated in elite sport. Winning 1-0 is a fantastic result. It's wonderful." Word of Xavi Hernández, the Barcelona coach who, after leading his team in five classics and coming out victorious in three of them, will 'play' for the first time at home. On the bench of the Camp Nou. "I'm very motivated. I am very culé and the classics turn me on, they motivate me extra. The setting is very good. We have a lot to gain. We play at home and we have trained very well. I have very good feelings”, predicted the coach. Nothing and no one, not even the Negreira case, can destabilize him. And the pressure? He leaves it for Real Madrid,
It's not just any classic. It is a high-voltage game in which, in case of victory, Barcelona, leader of the League, will extend its advantage over Real Madrid to 12 points. “In case of winning it would be a blow on the table. It would not be definitive but it would be strong ”, acknowledged the coach who, this time, contrary to what happened in the classic cupbearer at the Bernabéu, he has had enough time to prepare it. “We visualize a game where we will try to have more possession and push up. We will try to dominate but it will be a contested match”, he said. And he added that the Camp Nou factor places Barcelona as a favorite. “But only for that. Because we play at home. In the rest we are at 50 percent. The pressure is always to win at Can Barça, for this reason and perhaps because of the classification, Real Madrid has a little more pressure”, he highlighted.
In his head the coach, who this time has had a week to prepare for the match, has drawn a match similar to the one played in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia where the team won 3-1. This time neither Dembélé nor Pedri will be there. “We have done many games without them. We have similar profiles, although obviously they are two very important players. People keep the semifinal game and it's a game. The others without them have been even or dominated by Barcelona ”, he insisted.
As for Pedri, the coach explained that the canary was very fair. "There was a risk. Yesterday he didn't feel well, he suffered and if you're not well you don't have to risk it. It's not a final, there will still be 12 games left. It's an important game but feelings rule and what we don't want is to lose Pedri two months more. Without Pedri we can dominate Madrid and we hope to prove it tomorrow".
Yes, he will be able to count on Araújo, a key figure to stop Vinícius. “Ronald is very strong, fast, he intuits well. He is a physical wonder. He is responsible, leader, winner in aggressive duels. He is a world class defender. He one of the best in the world. Having it is an advantage. He has normally come out the winner, but Vinicius makes a lot of differences for you. He is an extraordinary value for Madrid. Not only Ronald, it's the vigilance and collectively we've been very good against Madrid”.
Finally, regarding the Negreira case, Xavi supports President Joan Laporta and the idea that there is a campaign to harm FC Barcelona. “We are stabilized from day one. Nothing can get us out of there. Everything the president says goes to mass. He is the project leader. I focus on football but if they tell me that I win because of the referees, I would go home. Tomorrow we have a transcendent classic in the League, which is our goal. We have not discussed the subject of the arbitrators or the Negreira case. We focus on competing and being at the highest level. we try to be natural with them. We extract ourselves from everything that happens. I haven't had to do anything different," he said.