Barcelona are restored their eight-point lead at the top of the table against Cadiz on the Sunday night, securing another clean sheet. In the process they set a new defensive record in La Liga, as they currently track to be the best defence in the history of Spanish football.
That was without Ronald Araujo for large swathes of the season, but there is no doubt that with his return from injury, Barcelona have looked far more solid. The Uruguayan missed around three months of action after picking up a muscle tear in late September, which he had surgery for. Araujo did not rest on his laurels during his convalescence though.
“The injury helped me a lot, especially to work the time I was out, analyse a lot, see the mistakes. I watched a lot of videos, physically I worked on many aspects that, when you’re competing, maybe you don’t work on. The idea was to get back to the rhythm of the team, which is difficult when you’re out for three months.”
That has been seen in his game and frequently manager Xavi Hernandez has highlighted Araujo as the player who has imporved the most since he arrived back at the club. Araujo agrees that he has learnt plenty at Xavi’s hand, and that it was an entirely new philosophy for him working under him.
“With the arrival of Xavi I learned a lot more because he gave us back the Barca philosophy, which had been lost in recent years. I am the one who learned the most, but the team changed and it is being seen in the results,” Araujo told EFE (via Sport).
Although there have been blips, and issues, especially in Europe, Araujo feels they are on an upward trajectory.
“The fruits of our labour are being seen. Since Xavi arrived, we have been growing. He implemented all the things he wanted. In addition, we were able to have a good preseason and both technically and tactically we learned a lot defensively. Reinforcements arrived in defense and that adds a lot.”
If Barcelona can win La Liga, it will be regarded as a major success for Barcelona and delivery on the targets set at the start of the season. Xavi has already said that Barcelona must win trophies for him to keep his job. Given the major investment last summer, the Blaugrana are required to bring success on the pitch.