Xavi: "Ousmane knows what the situation is"
Following their elimination from the Copa del Rey, Barcelona coach Xavi says the team will go into Sunday's game at Alavés "urgently needing a win".
Barcelona close the Week 22 action in LaLiga as guests of Alavés on Sunday night. In the preview to the game, coach Xavi discussed a number of issues concerning his team, including Ansu Fati´s injury and the delicate situation surrounding Ousmane Dembélé´s future.
Mendilibar could try to replicate Athletic's tactics...
Their system is similar, based around set-pieces, looking for chances from the second ball. We'll try and learn from our mistakes.We urgently need a win to remain close to the Champions League places.
How is Ansu?
Very upset. There'll be another meeting on Monday, following on from today's. [Doctor] Pruna told me that he was fit enough to play half an hour but extra-time ruined our plans. We will draw up a plan so that he has less chance of getting injured. We will design a specifc recovery programne so these kinds of things don't happen again.
Will Ansu's injury affect Dembélé's situation?
The situation won't change, he has to decide. It doesn't change anything.
Is signing a striker now a priority?
We're working on it and i have spoken very clearly about where we need to strengthen the team. There is a difference between what we want to do and what are we able to do because we are constrained by the salary cap and wages bill.
What is your biggest worry?
The results. Whenever there is a change of coach, there is a process of change and we need to be patient. It's going slower than we envisgaed. We'll stick with the ideas which made Barça a great club. We have to start from now. We believe in that model, but we need results.
Have you spoken with Ousmane again?
He's been training well, he's relaxed, he's one more member of the squad and knows his situation. I've been very clear. It depends on him.
Do you think surgery is the best option for Ansu?
I'm not a doctor, the best thing is that he gets over the mental trauma, that we have a plan to follow, be kind to him. He's a brilliant player. We're all sad about it, but he's the one who is suffering the most.
Are you still optimistic?
If I wasn't, I'd be better off staying at home. I'm convinced that we are at the start of something special. We have to persevere. I went through the same thing as a player. I understand the criticism and that you don't have years to make the changes you have to make. The only way is by working hard. There is something positive to focus on with every new day.
If Dembélé stays, will he play or be sent to the stands?
There's nothing more to say. He knows the situation. There are no more alternatives now
Will Dembélé travel to Vitoria with the squad?
The list will be announced tomorrow.