Xavi lauds 'perfect' Barcelona before Alves red: 'That's the Barca we all love'

By Sports Desk February 06, 2022

Xavi felt Barcelona were "perfect" before Dani Alves' sending off in Sunday's 4-2 defeat of Atletico Madrid.

The Blaugrana fell behind early on to Yannick Carrasco's well-worked opener, but the home side quickly hit back and soon found themselves 2-1 up.

Jordi Alba's spectacular sliced volley levelled it up, before Gavi headed in debutant Adama Traore's cross – Ronald Araujo made it 3-1 just before the break, and Alves drilled home early in the second half.

Barca looked to be cruising to an emphatic win, though Luis Suarez scored against his former club and then Alves was shown a straight red for scraping his studs down the calf of Carrasco to become the first player to score and get sent off for the club in a single LaLiga game since at least 2004-05.

There was certainly a degree of fortune to Barca's victory, with their expected goals (xG) of 0.6 only half that of Atletico's 1.2.

 

Similarly, their difference between goals and xG was the highest in a LaLiga game this term, highlighting just how impressive some of Barca's finishes were.

Nevertheless, Xavi was delighted with his team's showing prior to Alves' red, with the win taking Barca above Atletico and into fourth.

"Before Alves was sent off, the game was perfect," he said. "We had to go back a bit [after the red], but the first 60 minutes represents the Barca that we all love.

"When we had 11 men, we were very good. We had worked with the 3-4-3 and the 3-5-2.

"We showed solidarity after the expulsion, we defended the area well and we haven't suffered too much."

While victory puts Barca fourth and two points clear of Atletico, Xavi is not getting ahead of himself.

"You have to be humble," he added. "It's an important victory, against the champions. We fell behind and were then patient.

"I think we've played 60 very good minutes, but we have to continue."

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