Barcelona coach Xavi underlined the dynamism and strengths of Simone Inzaghi’s Inter ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash.
Both teams sit tied on points in Group C, with each losing to Bayern Munich but beating Viktoria Plzen. Tomorrow’s clash and the one next week will likely be decisive in determining which side finishes second behind the German giants, setting up two tense affairs for both teams.
Speaking in a press conference, Xavi first discussed if his Barcelona will adapt to face Inter tomorrow.
“We want to dominate, have the ball and play in the opponent’s half of the pitch. This is the history of Barcelona and I won’t change it.
“I will adapt with a three-man defence and a different midfield, but not because the opponents do it. Today we analyse our rivals a lot, but our mentality is always to be the protagonist of the game.”
He touched on how his team will face an out-of-form Nerazzurri side.
“Form isn’t significant. We’ve played many games in which we were not favourites and we won. Inter use a different formation than other teams we’ve faced, Inzaghi’s game is very dynamic and uses two forwards, something that is no longer the case in Spain.
“They are a difficult rival, we have to show that we are Barcelona. We’ll have to play the game we played in Munich, but get a result.”
The Barcelona coach touched on how he’ll set his team up to face Inzaghi’s side.
“I already have the team to send out on the pitch well in my head. I have clear ideas of what to do, despite the strength of the opponent.
“We want to play in the opponent’s half, as we have been doing for months. It is not a decisive game, but it is very important for the future of the group.”
Xavi commented on what changes if both teams use a three-man defence.
“We can strengthen the midfield and the attack more, we have to take risks in such an important game.
“We will have to attack and not let Inter run, because they are a very vertical team and dominate many parts of the game. We will try to show our personality.”
He reflected on the 2010 Champions League semi-finals between Barcelona and Inter, when the Italian side came out on top on their path to the Treble.
“It’s a totally different moment. We travelled by coach, it was not easy to get here. We went ahead, but they had a great team coached by Mourinho. After losing here, we couldn’t recover at home. There was a lot of controversy, it’s a sad memory for us.”
The Spanish coach commented on which team lose more with their injuries.
“We both lose. Inter’s block plays well, despite the absences. They should’ve won against Roma, but that’s football. Their team is very strong, very difficult to play against.”
He gave his thoughts on Lautaro Martinez.
“Lautaro is an important footballer, very good. He looks for spaces and is very interesting, we will see if he will play.”
Finally, Xavi discussed the importance of tomorrow’s clash considering both sides lost to Bayern Munich.
“We both lost to Bayern, the double challenge between us will be crucial. We cannot make a mistake.”