Xavi praises Ousmane Dembele after Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win.
Barcelona coach Xavi praised Ousmane Dembele after the Frenchman came off the bench and scored in a 2-1 win over Linares in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Dembele was a surprise name in the matchday squad after returning a negative Covid-19 test but started the match on the bench.
However, Xavi called for the forward at half-time, with Barcelona 1-0 down, and he came on and scored the equalizer with his first goal of the season.
The Barcelona boss praised Dembele after the match and also admitted there’s been no progress on his contract situation.
“We needed him and he has delivered. He has made a difference, he could have scored another great goal too, I’m happy with him,”
he said. “In terms of football, there is nothing to say, very well in one on one, which is what we need, there is nothing new about the renewal issue.”
Ferran Jutgla went on to grab the winner for Barcelona and Xavi also spoke about his team’s struggles against third-tier opposition.
“It was a difficult day because everyone expected a win but football is no longer like that.
It is difficult to attack an orderly team,” he added.
“We are seeing it, all La Liga teams suffer, everyone works tactically and physically.
“I told my players that they were better than the opponents, but I told them that two things could happen to us, an expulsion or not equal the intensity of Linares, and this is what exactly happened to us in the first few minutes.”
Dembele did have a great chance to score his second of the match late on. The Frenchman showed great skill to work an opening and race
into the penalty area but then smashed a shot against the crossbar.
Barcelona will be facing 13th place, Granada on Saturday at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes.
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