Barcelona started 2022 on a winning note as they beat 1-0 RCD Mallorca away from home on Sunday night.
The Catalan giants controlled the game for the most part but appeared to lack that part in the final third to hurt their athletes. However, a 44-minute strike from Luuk de Jong was enough for the Blaugrana to score all three points overnight.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen also came up with a clutch, producing a significant late save in the tournament to maintain his team’s lead. The result elevates Barca to fifth place in La Liga, leaving Atletico Madrid in fourth place.
Speaking to the media after the game, manager Xavi Hernandez praised the unity of the team and said: “Today’s win shows that we are united as a team. We eventually suffered, but Marc’s rescue was good for us. He needed that too. We are a group. We are a family. ”
The 41-year-old also touched on conditions leading to the game as Barcelona were without 16 players due to Covid and injuries.
“We were asking for the game to be postponed. But they did not listen, and in the end, we succeeded. Three points of gold for our ambitions. “Everyone on top of us except Atletico Madrid has lost points,” he added.
Xavi was full of praise for his winger Luuk de Jong, whose time at Barcelona is drawing to a close. The manager also commended Riqui Puig for his work.
“Luuk and Riqui had a very good game. We managed a lot of game time and were very happy with the result. Luuk de Jong is an example to other players. He doesn’t have many minutes, but he always works hard and is very professional. Yes, I can rely on him all season if he stays, ”said the Barca coach.
The manager also spoke at length about Ter Stegen’s recent problems on the field, saying: “Ter Stegen is suffering from a lack of confidence. But that saving today was amazing, he needed it so much. ”
Xavi also gave a review of the situation of Dani Alves and Jordi Alba, saying: “Dani Alves and Jordi Alba have been tested for Covid-19.”