Xavi is not expecting Getafe to sit back at Camp Nou when they face his Barcelona side on Saturday.

Nothing else but three points will do for Barca if they are to keep their flagging La Liga title hopes alive, as they trail their bitter rivals Real Madrid by eight points with 13 games to go.

Xavi, who will leave his position as head coach at the end of the season after a difficult campaign, does not think a win will be easily achieved by his team against a Getafe side who occupy 10th spot.

“Getafe are not a defensive team, they are a brave team,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“They press very high up the pitch and they have picked up points at some tricky away grounds. They always compete and (coach Jose) Bordalas always gets the most out of his players, and that is worthy of praise.

“The points are very important for the battle for the league title. As long as we are mathematically involved, we will fight for it. Each week is a different story. We can’t drop points, less so at home.

“We would go to be in second place in the table (above Girona) and that will put more pressure on Girona and Real Madrid, who play later. We are not throwing in the towel, even though we know that it will be tough.”

Barcelona come into the match after a 1-1 draw away to Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday.

“We will see how we come into the game, but it is the moment for the best players,” Xavi added.

“We will make some changes but not many, because it is a vital match. It would have been better to play on Sunday or Monday but that is no excuse.”

Barcelona are without Alejandro Balde (hamstring), who is sidelined for the rest of the season, while Marcos Alonso remains unavailable due to lower back pain, which has meant Joao Cancelo being forced to play at left-back.

“He is playing very well both on the left and on the right, his contribution is fantastic,” Xavi said about Cancelo.

“The instructions I give him are because sometimes he plays too high or too low. Also because he is closer to the bench for me (to communicate with). But he is a leader too, we are very happy with him.”

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti recognises the reasons for Xavi’s impending departure from Barcelona but refused to identify any comparisons in their roles.

Xavi hinted internal factors were among the reasons as he announced – following a 5-3 defeat at the weekend by Villarreal – that he will leave his position as Barcelona boss at the end of the season.

The 44-year-old had a decorated playing career at Barcelona and led them to the 2022-23 LaLiga title in his first full season at the helm but they sit well adrift of leaders Girona this season.

Asked whether he comprehends why Xavi is set to step down, Ancelotti told a press conference: “I understand it. I don’t want to make comparisons. I respect his thoughts and his decisions.

“There is pressure on our job. We have to respect everyone with words, decisions and thoughts.”

Real visit Getafe on Thursday looking for a sixth successive league win that will take them back above surprise leaders Girona.

“It’s a key game,” Ancelotti said. “It will be very difficult and it’s going to be very demanding for us. The team is doing well and hopefully we can put in a good performance.

“Getafe are solid, they play good football and are strong in their duels. It will be a tough game and vital for the league and the season.

“We have to get the first goal in every match. We’ve played games where we’ve taken the lead and in others we’ve had to come from behind. If we come back it’s because we’ve got the quality in the squad.”

Real trailed 2-0 against Almeria and 1-0 at Las Palmas in their two most recent contests but hit back on each occasion to win by the odd goal.

Luka Modric was an unused substitute in both matches, with the 38-year-old’s game time dwindling this season.

“Modric didn’t warm up for the game because a young player such as Arda (Guler) can warm up, not play and nothing happens,” Ancelotti said. “But with Luka I can’t do that.

“He has won five Champions League titles and he’s a legend of the club. When I’m sure he’s going to play during the game, he warms up. The player knows this.”

Ancelotti spoke fondly of Jose Bordalas, describing the “fantastic job” he is doing as Getafe head coach, who sees the resemblance in the styles between himself and the veteran Italian.

Bordalas told a press conference: “Ancelotti and I are good friends, we share many things on a professional level, we have a very similar idea.

“I have great affection for him, great respect and a lot of admiration, for what he represents for all coaches, for the world of football and for everything he is capable of achieving.

“We all know that Real Madrid is in a formidable moment. We have to be close to perfection if we want to achieve a good result.”

Getafe head coach Jose Bordalas says the club must be “patient, calm and tranquil” as they decide when to hand new signing Mason Greenwood his LaLiga debut.

Greenwood has been welcomed by Getafe and many of their fans since joining on a season-long loan from Manchester United on transfer deadline day.

United announced last month that Greenwood would continue his career away from Old Trafford after charges against him, including attempted rape and assault, were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The 21-year-old has been out of action since being suspended by United in January 2022, while Getafe resume LaLiga action after the international break at home against Osasuna on Sunday.

Bordalas, who has included Greenwood in his match-day squad, told Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo: “It is a great hope and there is a great expectation to see him.

“He has been a year-and-a-half without competing, and he is in that period of adaptation and catching up with his team-mates.

“You have to be patient and take care of him. The day-to-day will tell us when he is fit to compete. We have to be patient, calm and tranquil.”

Greenwood made his last appearance for United in a 1-0 win over West Ham in January 2022 and Getafe’s fans are eagerly anticipating his debut for their club.

Following his arrival in the Spanish capital, Getafe’s supporters have focused on Greenwood’s on-pitch potential rather than the controversy which has stalled his career in England.

According to reports, Getafe have sold more shirts bearing his name than any other player in their history.

Bordalas added: “We know the potential and the level he has. I don’t like to speak on an individual level, but his team-mates are helping him a lot.

“The locker room has welcomed him with open arms, like the rest of the new players, and everyone has felt the warmth of the group.”

Getafe have retained top-flight status since winning promotion in 2017 and have taken four points from their first four league fixtures this season.

Getafe head coach Jose Bordalas has defended the club’s decision to hand Mason Greenwood a way back into football.

The 21-year-old joined the LaLiga side on loan from Manchester United, who suspended him in January 2022 over allegations relating to a young woman after images and videos were posted online, on transfer deadline day.

Greenwood faced charges including attempted rape and assault, but the Crown Prosecution Service announced in February that the case had been discontinued.

Asked about the decision to sign the one-cap England international after his side’s 2-1 league defeat at Real Madrid on Saturday, Bordalas told a press conference: “It is a very delicate situation to trivialise that issue.

“Everyone knows what happened and appropriate measures were taken. Everyone knows how it ended, with a non-convictory sentence.

“He is a footballer of a very high level and arrives at Getafe with enormous enthusiasm.”

Reports suggested United might try to reintegrate Greenwood into the squad at Old Trafford after concluding an internal investigation, but they revealed last week he would be leaving the club by mutual agreement after a public outcry.

Asked if signing Greenwood, who was not involved in the matchday squad at the Bernabeu, might prompt an unfavourable reaction, Bordalas added: “I can only speak at a footballing level.

“We all know the potential he has. He is a very young boy and we hope that he adapts to a very different League. Surely he wants to recover his professional status and Getafe can help him in that sense.”

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