‘It was a day to dare’ – Xavi delighted after Barca patiently dismantle Sevilla


Barcelona scored three second-half goals to see off Sevilla and extend their lead over Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga to eight points.

Xavi praised his Barcelona players for remaining patient in their 3-0 victory over Sevilla as the LaLiga leaders moved eight points clear of Real Madrid.

Barca dominated Sunday’s game at Camp Nou before finally finding a breakthrough through full-back Jordi Alba in the 58th minute.

Gavi added the second 12 minutes later and Raphinha, who assisted that goal, added his name to the scoreboard as Barca won 10 in a row this year.

Sevilla focused almost entirely on defence, managing just three shots in the Barca penalty area in total, and Xavi is pleased his side were able to dismantle the visitors.

“It was a day to dare,” he told DAZN. “We talked about it at half-time, it’s always difficult to attack when the opponent has 11 players behind the ball.

“But we did very well and I’m very happy with this result.”

Barca took full advantage of Real Madrid’s surprise 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca earlier in the day to extend their lead at the summit as they close in on a first title in four seasons.

“We have gone many games without defeat and it is important that we win like today,” said Xavi. “We created a lot of chances against the low block – that’s a big positive.

“Things are looking up for us. We’re eight points ahead of Madrid, but there’s still a long way to go before the end of the season.”

With a goal and an assist against Sevilla, Raphinha has been involved in more goals (eight – four goals and four assists) than any other LaLiga player in all competitions in 2023.

Xavi praised the Brazil international’s performance and also reserved special praise for Alba, who scored and assisted himself for the fourth time in a single LaLiga game.

“I was already satisfied with Raphinha’s performances,” Xavi said. “He’s good in high-pressure scenarios and gives us crucial assists. He’s an extraordinary player.”

“As for Jordi, he gives us a lot in attack and he showed that again today. We knew there would be an opportunity to use the space we had left.”

Alba has been recalled to the starting line-up as he has had to settle for substitute appearances of late and has taken full advantage of his opportunities to impress.

“I take advantage of the minutes when I play and when I don’t, I dedicate myself to encouraging the youngsters to know what it means to play for this club,” Alba said.

“We’ve had a very good season, we’re playing well, we’re pushing well and we’re forcing our opponents to give us chances.

“There are eight points on Madrid and although there is a lot of the league season left, it is a very good distance.”

Barca’s 53 points from 20 LaLiga games has only been equaled or bettered on five previous occasions, including themselves four times.

The only blemish on Xavi’s side was captain Sergio Busquets limping off early after a challenge on Youssef En-Nesyri.

Busquets has reportedly sprained his right ankle and is set to be out for two to three weeks, potentially ruling him out of Barca’s Europa League clash with Manchester United.

“I hope it’s nothing serious,” Xavi said. “We’ll do tests first and then we’ll know more.”

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