FC Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández addressed the media ahead of the Tuesday match against FC Porto at the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuic, part of the UEFA Champions League group stage.
The Significance of the Match “For us, it’s an extremely important and vital match. Our chances of finishing top of the group remain intact, and it’s in our hands. A victory tomorrow would secure the first place after two years of not being able to qualify for the round of 16. It’s an opportunity for us, and we face it with a lot of enthusiasm, especially playing at home. We expect our fans, and tomorrow we need them more than ever. Hopefully, it will be a magical night.”
Playing Style “The players totally understand it. Lately, things haven’t been going as we wanted, but for example, in Vallecas, we played a good game. Overall, upon reviewing it, I believe it was a match to win. We created opportunities, played inside-out, especially in the second half, where we saw perhaps a more aggressive team, more eager to win… Well, I think the plan is working, but obviously, it’s not the game everyone expects. We lack continuity in our play. We need to play more minutes like the second half, like, for example, in the Clásico for 60 minutes. We lack that continuity, but people are comfortable with the plan, they feel good, the locker room is united… there’s no problem with that.”
Facing Porto “Conceiçao’s work speaks for itself: titles, gameplay, intensity. A team very tactically worked. They know perfectly what they must do. A highly pressing team that doesn’t give up on any ball. Aggressive. In my opinion, a high-level Champions League opponent. Tomorrow, we have a very, very important, high-level test. We experienced it there in Porto, where we suffered. I think we were good for an hour, then in the last half-hour, we suffered; many things happened. Lamine had to go to the locker room, Gavi’s expulsion… many things happened in the end, but I believe Porto dominated us in that last half-hour. And tomorrow is a very strong opponent, a very strong one. A very important test for us.”
Ter Stegen’s Condition “Tomorrow Marc will be tested; that’s the reality. Tomorrow he will be assessed to see how much pain he has. He has hardly trained with the group, but he’s always there to contribute. He’s one of the captains and wants to test himself tomorrow to see if he’s one hundred percent fit for this match.