Positive Xavi claims Barcelona must improve after Espanyol derby win

New Barcelona boss Xavi was delighted with a winning start on his Camp Nou return as his side edged out a 1-0 derby win over Espanyol.

La Blaugrana were forced to hang on and survive a late storm of Espanyol chances on the night as Memphis Depay’ penalty proved enough to secure all three points for Xavi.

However, despite an upbeat assessment of the performance against Vicente Moreno’s visitors, Xavi admitted his team still have work to do in their bid to launch a title challenge in 2022.

Xavi

“What I liked most from the player was their attitude. Of course there are things we have to improve. In fact, there are many”, as per reports from Barcelona’s official TV channel.

“We are not in the best situation and Espanyol gave us a lot of problems late on. But in general it was a deserved victory and it is a great joy.

“The crowd has been wonderful. I haven’t been to the Camp Nou in almost six years and the atmosphere has changed a lot, but I loved it.”

The big pre game talking point for Xavi was his decision to hand a senior debut to La Masia starlet Ilias Akhomach in place of the half fit Ansu Fati.

Ilias Akhomach

Akhomach impressed in patches in the opening 45 minutes before being replaced by another youth team product in Abdessamad Ezzalzouli.

The pair join a growing list of academy players breaking into the first team in the last 12 months and Xavi was full of praise for their cameos.

“Ilias and Abde played a great game, they are talents and it’s important to have this generation of footballers who will help us a lot.”

Up next for Xavi is a midweek Champions League clash against Benfica with a win needed to seal their place in the last 16.

Images via Getty Images

Tags Abdessamad Ezzalzouli Ilias Akhomach Memphis Depay Vicente Calderon Xavi