Xavi: “Everything we worked on has turned out perfectly” | Soccer | Sports

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Xavi gives instructions to his team during the duel against Atlético.Angel Martinez (Getty Images)

You had to rewind to January 2023 to find Atlético’s last defeat at the Metropolitano. A streak of 25 games with 23 wins and two draws, until Barcelona, ​​precisely their last executioner, appeared in Madrid. Once again, the coin fell in favor of Xavi Hernández. The Argentine coach faced the Catalan five times, always with the same winner, Xavi, with a balance of 10 goals for and two against. This time, with two incentives: Barcelona regained second place in the League and João Félix scored again against Atlético.

Athletic

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Oblak, Reinildo Mandava, Witsel, Savic, Nahuel Molina, Samuel Lino (Griezmann, min. 45), Pablo Barrios Rivas, De Paul (Saúl, min. 65), Marcos Llorente (Koke, min. 58), Rodrigo Riquelme (Correa , min. 58) and Morata (Depay, min. 45)

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Barcelona

Ter Stegen, Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Hector Fort (Marc Casado, min. 82), Pau Cubarsí, Gündogan, Fermín López, Sergi Roberto (Oriol Romeu, min. 77), João Félix (Vitor Roque, min. 76), Lewandowski and Raphinha (Lamine Yamal, min. 60)

Goals 0-1 min. 38: João Félix. 0-2 min. 46: Lewandowski. 0-3 min. 64: Fermin Lopez.

Referee José María Sánchez Martínez

Yellow cards Koundé (min. 32), De Paul (min. 45), Savic (min. 60) and Pablo Barrios Rivas (min. 88)

red cards Nahuel Molina (min. 92)

“Very happy, everything we worked on has gone perfectly. We have been effective in attack, in defense they have generated very little for us. It is an ideal match for our methodology and style of play,” analyzed Xavi, sent off in the Atlético field – second red card, in addition to 22 yellow cards as Barcelona coach. “The fourth referee told me that he sent me off for the gestures. “I am passionate,” the coach justified. “Making technical observations on one of my decisions, shouting, making inconsiderate gestures, after having been warned by the fourth referee,” the referee explained in the minutes.

Displeased with the referee, Xavi celebrated his boys’ performance: “I attribute the team’s improvement to many things. We are better in defense, there is balance and we don’t lose as many balls that generate transitions. We are more supportive and in attack we understand everything better. “Football is a state of mind and form and now we are in the best moment,” described Xavi. “In recent weeks we have changed the training a little, with more intensity,” Lewandowski added.

The best Barcelona of the season was suffered by Simeone. “They were superior, they were forceful in the first goal situations,” Simeone replied. After the defeat against Barça, Atlético dropped out of the Champions League positions. “We have to take one more step. It’s costing us. We have a very tough game in Villarreal. We will have a couple of days to train when the guys from the national team return. The other teams improve and we have to improve,” stressed the Atlético coach.

After the intense duel against Inter, when Atlético sealed its place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, the Argentine coach left Griezmann and Memphis on the bench. He didn’t get it right. And, when he wanted to rectify it, it was already too late. Revenge was not for anyone dressed in red and white. But it was, no matter how much it weighed on the Atlético fans, as well as on Simeone, for someone who until last season was the most expensive broken toy (127 million euros) in the history of the Madrid team: João Félix.

Felix didn’t shine. Yes, however, his prominence. In the vicinity of the Metropolitano, the Atlético fans seemed ready to show all their hostility to the forward. On the plaque that João Félix has in the Atlético stadium, the red and white fans ready to desecrate it were repeated. There were those who spat at her, those who threw drinks and those who insulted her. There was a fan who burned Félix’s Atlético shirt and there was even a fan who brought excrement wrapped in a handkerchief to throw at the plaque. “João played a great game, especially without the ball, he was extra motivated, it was a game for him and he made the difference,” said Xavi.

Finally, the name João Félix jumped from the stands to the field. Of course, it took him about 10 minutes to touch the ball. And, when he did it, the Atlético fans continued to dislike him. João Félix’s luck (to avoid the whistles) was that he touched the ball little (34 in his 77 minutes on the field). However, in one of the few balls that came his way, just after half an hour when Barcelona practically didn’t even smell the leather in the Metropolitano, the spotlight was placed on João Félix. And in the best way for the Blaugrana: goal from the Portuguese, his sixth in the League, the second for Atlético.

“Simeone, Simeone!” the fans sang when the Portuguese was replaced by Roque. The duel between João Félix and Simeone is won again by the Argentine in the stands. On the field, however, the striker emerges victorious. Again. Just like Xavi Hernández.

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