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Every word Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said before El Clásico against Real Madrid

Barcelona can extend their lead at the top of LaLiga to 12 points with a victory in El Clásico against Real Madrid.

Barcelona can extend their lead at the top of LaLiga to 12 points with a victory in El Clásico against Real Madrid.
Rodolfo MolinaDiarioAS

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez is getting ready for his first Clásico at Camp Nou. Having been in charge for games against Real Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and in Saudi Arabia, where the Spanish Super Cup is held at the moment, the Barcelona coach is about to get his first taste of the fixture - which could prove to be a decisive one - on home turf as a coach. La Blaugrana head into the game with a nine-point lead over Real Madrid, and a victory could all but ensure that they end the campaign as LaLiga champions, even though it wouldn’t quite be a done deal mathematically.

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In the event of a defeat, on the other hand, the gap at the top would be cut to six points with 12 games to go. Here is what Xavi had to say ahead of an encounter which could be season-defining.

What kind of game are you expecting?: “We are preparing to play the game a certain way. We are going to try to dominate more than in the last one. We are not looking to defend with the ball, we are looking to take the game to them with the ball. More than we did in the Copa del Rey semi-final in the Bernabéu. Madrid have improved a lot. It’s unpredictable. You never know what’s going to happen in a Clásico. Our plan is to dominate the game. Hopefully, the Camp Nou will be like cauldron, all the while respecting our opponents.

Pedri: “Pedri wanted to train but he felt a little niggle. In these matches, if you’re not at 100%, it’s better to rest. He didn’t feel right and we said that he didn’t need to play. It’s not a cup final. It’s a game that could be decisive, but it’s not a big cup final. We don’t want to lose Pedri for two more months.”

Response to Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone (who made reference to Barça’s recent trend of winning 1-0 last weekend. Xavi previously criticised Atleti for winning ugly): “The important thing is not the result, it’s the style of play.”

On Barça president Joan Laporta’s recent statements about the Negreira scandal: “Whatever the president says, goes.”

Blocking out the noise surrounding the Negreira scandal: “We haven’t talked about referees or the Negreira case. We’ve been focused on competing. We try to detach ourselves from everything that happens around this club. I haven’t had to do anything different.”

Gavi: “Unlike a month ago, there hasn’t been any news in the past few days saying that Gavi is a ‘butcher’. We’re used to it. I know who is firing the shots. We can’t be focused on what people are saying. Gavi is focused, training very well. Gavi goes in hard, but never with bad intentions.”

Winning 1-0: “What’s wrong with 1-0? (laughter) If I had to choose, I’d prefer a 4-0 or a 5-0. People defend well, it’s hard to score goals... It’s very difficult. Those who haven’t participated in elite sports can’t understand what it’s like to face a team like Real Madrid, a recent Champions League winner. 1-0 is a fantastic result.”

Barcelona’s 2009 sextuple being questioned due to the Negreira scandal: “I know that I won legitimately. I never felt that I was winning because of the referees. If that were the case, I’d go home.”