Following a 5-0 destruction of Royal Antwerp in the Champions League, FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez praised his team who he believes are playing at the “highest level” since he took over from Ronald Koeman in November 2021.
Barca raised their second “manita” (a little hand, i.e. five fingers) in four days after also beating Real Betis by the same scoreline at the same ground, the Montjuic Stadium, on Saturday.
Xavi said he was “very satisfied” with the result, and “especially by the game, by how we are understanding it”.
“It’s the best level of the team with me as coach, this game against Antwerp and Saturday against Betis. And this is the way. Playing with patience, seeing how we press up [the field] so that the opponent can not get out, creating chances. We will also win games 1-0, but this way of playing is what we all want,” Xavi explained.
The manager continued by saying there are players who have arrived that have improved the team, which he is “proud to watch”.
This was a nod to Joao Felix, who bagged a brace and provided an assist, his compatriot namesake Joao Cancelo, and former Manchester City teammate Ilkay Gundogan.
“[To] Gundogan and Cancelo [you] do not have to say anything because they have had a coach who also plays like us [Pep Guardiola], so everything is easier.
“It’s wonderful to see Gundogan play,” Xavi beamed. “When Gundogan plays he raises the level. He has fallen from the sky. He is a superlative footballer. He does what he has to do and makes things better when the ball comes to him.”
“Joan Cancelo also improves the squad, and Joao Felix. The most important thing is that they are enjoying themselves,” Xavi added.
Xavi also mentioned goalscorer Gavi and Frenkie de Jong, who he was affirmative on when asked if he’d offer the Dutchman a new contract.
“Of course I would renew him now, I think he can be in the best moment of his career,” Xavi stated.
After 10 successful strikes in two games, Barca will hope to put more goals into the back of the net in their next outing when Celta Vigo make their way to Catalonia at the weekend.