Xavi said Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Real Mallorca gave them “peace of mind” in their quest to enter the UEFA Champions League, and praised Memphis Depay’s attitude after opening the scoring with an impressive volley.
Having lost three consecutive games at the Camp Nou for the second time in their good history, the Blaugrana came back with excellent goals from Depay and Sergio Busquets, holding on to victory after Antonio Raillo scored late.
The Catalan giants have now won five of their last seven LaLiga games to open up nine points to fifth-placed Real Betis in the Champions League, climbing to second place in the table.
Although Xavi insisted his team should have won the game freely, he was happy after finding the key win in their bid to finish in the top four.
“It was a 3-0 game and we had to finish satisfied, make an unnecessary mistake, and score a goal. It’s a game to win [a lot] with ease,” he said after the victory.
“[But] three points give us peace of mind. Now we have a five-team Champions League, which we have to win.”
Depay’s high-scoring goal represents his 11th goal of the season in LaLiga – more than any other Barcelona player, and while Xavi was unwilling to discuss the future of the striker at Camp Nou, he insisted the 28-year-old deserved to play. after showing good application in training.
“There’s no talking about the future. Memphis played because he trained well, and maybe because another player dropped his arms,” he added. “We worked to play the first goal.
“We want players with his attitude. I’m happy for him because we may not have been fair to him sometimes. But if he trains like this he has to get involved.”
Dutch team-mate Depay Frenkie de Jong, on the other hand, played every 90 minutes after reacting angrily to being relegated from Barca by Rayo Vallecano last week.
But the 24-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from Catalonia in recent weeks, said he has had good discussions with Xavi since then and hopes Barcelona will compete with newly-crowned champions Real Madrid to win the league title next. term.
“The conversation with Xavi went well,” De Jong said. “I have confidence in myself and the coach told me that he also trusts me. I do not think that much is required of me, the pressure is always good and not too bad.
“We were better and we deserved to win. We played very well, although we could not improve much. But it was important to win after the defeat and be happy about that.
“We are second, the first goal is to qualify for the Champions League, and then the second to play in the [Spanish] Super Cup.
“It’s frustrating, not fighting for the league, but we were not good this year and that’s why we couldn’t compete with them [Madrid]. We hope to do that next year.”