Xavi promised Barcelona would “keep fighting” until it is mathematically impossible to win the LaLiga title after moving into second place on Sunday.
A hard-fought 1-0 win against Sevilla at Camp Nou came thanks to a well-taken Pedri goal, and it saw Barca leapfrog their opponents and Atletico Madrid in the table.
They remain 12 points adrift of Real Madrid leaders, but Barca ended Sevilla’s 15-game unbeaten run in the league and are undefeated in 14 LaLiga games.
Speaking after the victory, Xavi was upbeat despite the enormous gap between his team and Madrid, who Barcelona thrashed 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in their last game away from home.
Xavi told reporters:
“I am very optimistic. I believe in work, effort, sacrifice and collective work.
“We are perfect. We are supportive, we all work, we run. With this base, the results should come.
“This is the best moment of the season. We have dominated a great opponent, with the best defence in LaLiga. [Sevilla] are a super team, and [Julen] Lopetegui is a magnificent coach.”
Barca has kept a clean sheet in three consecutive league games at Camp Nou for the first time since a run of four between February and June in 2020.
Xavi said his team did not think about “sending a message”, but he was pleased with the efforts of the fans and insisted the players would try to chase down Madrid.
“We didn’t send a message to anyone,” he added. “We sent it to ourselves, and We won and enjoyed ourselves.
“The atmosphere was extraordinary. And in LaLiga, as long as the numbers don’t say otherwise, we’ll keep fighting.”
The Blaugrana head coach also praised the match-winner, suggesting that teenager Pedri “has no comparison”.
“He is a super player,” said an enthused Xavi. “He has scored an extraordinary goal, and He makes a difference. It is a spectacle to watch him play, and he is only 19 years old.
“It does not surprise me. He has no comparison. I encourage him to shoot, but he is a passer, and he has in mind the last pass, the decisive one. But he doesn’t realise that he has to try [to shoot]. So today, he scored a great goal.”
Pedri was pleased with that strike and is enjoying playing in an emerging Barca side under Xavi.
The teenager has scored two goals in his last seven LaLiga games, as many as in his previous 34 appearances.
This was also his first goal from outside the box for the Catalan giants.
Pedri told reporters after the game:
“[The goal was] similar to the one in Turkey [against Galatasaray in the Europa League].
“We press better [under Xavi], calmer, and we have a lot of firepower with the [January] signings.
“We know that it is difficult [to catch Madrid], but we are Barca, and we have to fight to be first.”
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