Xavi Hernandez believes that Barcelona may by relying on their away goal to help win the Supercopa de Espana against Atletico Madrid.
The veteran sat down with his club’s in-house television channel to look ahead to this Wednesday evening’s second leg at the Camp Nou.
First up on the agenda, the 33-year-old was asked if he was expecting a tough game at home.
“Yes, physically and especially in defence, Atletico Madrid are very strong,” Xavi reflected.
“They have a Coach who works hard on defence and with two lines of four, they hardly allow any space – their forwards also chip in and help.
“They are a good side and showed us why they have achieved so much. It won’t be easy, but we had a good result in the first leg and an away goal is always important.
“Do I expect Atleti to maintain their approach from the first leg? I think so, yes. It’s a style they’ve worked hard at and they are strong at the back and on the counter.
“It’s a direct style that they use to find Diego Costa and they try and take advantage of set pieces. We have to try and move the ball quickly, we’ll be on a pitch we like and that’s a point in our favour.”
Barca go into the game with the advantage of Neymar’s goal scored at the Vicente Calderon in a 1-1 first leg.
“Neymar’s goal could prove decisive. An away goal in this type of match really helps. I think it came at a good time for us, we’d been patient and although you don’t get many chances against Atletico, we bided our time.
“In fact we only had two or three clear chances and we have to take advantage of Neymar’s goal – it could give us the title.”
Xavi recently marked 15 years to the day since making his debut for the Catalans.
“Well it’s a long time and I am very happy and proud of all the years I’ve been here at Barça – the club of my life and the best in the world.
“I’ve had a lot of success here – particularly over recent years. I’ve been very happy here and I still am, with three more years on my contract ahead of me.
“I hope I can stay at the high level such a demanding club requires. Every player wants to be important for his club and recognised as such”.
“My best memory so far? The best memories are always of when you win something and when you are given recognition.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win individual awards, but the best thing is when as a collective you win thing like Cups or the League or the Champions League.
“When it all comes right and you are where you consider to be your home, then it’s even better.”
The creative midfielder then reflected on how his role within the dressing room has developed in recent seasons.
“I always try and make sure people feel comfortable. [Carles] Puyol, Victor [Valdes) and Andres [Iniesta], who are captains too, try to keep everyone happy, because that helps how they perform on the pitch.
“It’s a collective responsibility to make sure everything works and that’s what we try and do- You have to help anybody who needs it, especially the youngsters coming through.
“The youngsters that come through? We try and treat them as one more in the squad and avoid any distance between them and the more experienced players.
“They have to feel good about being in the team and see that they can always come for help. There was maybe more of a hierarchical system in other moments, but the group we have now are united and the younger players know they have the whole squad’s backing.”