Xavi reacts to double Barcelona blow

Thursday 16 February 2023 21:03

Barcelona will be without impressive young Spain midfielders Pedri and Gavi for the Europa League play-off second leg at Manchester United.

Blaugrana coach Xavi reacted to the news during his press conference at the Nou Camp, following the hugely entertaining 2-2 draw on Thursday evening.

Pedri was injured in the closing stages of the first half and early reports suggest he will be sidelined for around a month.

Gavi collected a yellow card for a cynical shirt-pull on Fred as the Brazilian raced away from him in the second half and must serve a one-match suspension in the competition.

Talking points from the Nou Camp


Where does this scintillating tie rank as we look at the key issues arising from the 2-2 draw.

After United were forced to play the first leg without Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer due to suspension, maybe the tables will be turned a little in Manchester.

"We lost Pedri due to the calendar," said Xavi. "It's very demanding, which is why rotation is very important, especially for those players playing all the time, to avoid these injuries but a lot is at stake in the last four months of the season.

"Of course, I hope he will be able to recover [within the reported timeframe] but it's one of those where we'll see about Pedri tomorrow as we still await results of the test.

"We have got to recover our strength and we will think about the second leg on Monday."

Barcelona still have a wealth of options, of course, to cover the dual absence but their primary focus is first on Sunday's La Liga clash with Cadiz, with Sergio Roberto Pedri's replacement on the night.

"Sergio Roberto, well, he is an alternative," explained Xavi. "He masters the position in the game and he creates a lot of opportunities in finding spaces. He understands the third-man plays. It was good to unload to the wingers and to the centre and to the pivot, to find opportunities. He's a dynamic player who can give us many things in this position."

"We've got alternatives. We've got Gavi [at the weekend], Frenkie [de Jong], Ferran [Torres], Sergi, Pablo [Torre]. We have got alternatives that can also adapt to the team but Pedri is a spectacular player for us. He is a very significant miss. We are going to miss him but we have got alternatives to try to make up for it."

There could be some hope Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele may recover from injury in time to be part of the squad next week.