Barcelona top scorer Robert Lewandowski has handed manager a boost by returning to training just days after being ruled out of action with a hamstring strain.
The Catalans announced Lewandowski had suffered the injury after the team’s shock 1-0 defeat to Almeria last time out in La Liga which saw the striker miss the midweek trip to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.
However, Lewandowski is already back in training which put a smile on Xavi’s face ahead of Sunday’s La Liga game against Valencia at the Camp Nou.
Lewandowski will not be able to feature against Valencia but his return to the training pitches at the Ciutat Esportiva suggests he’s not too far away from a return. Barcelona’s next game is against Athletic on Sunday, March 12 and looks a realistic target for the Poland international.
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Xavi Offers Lewandowski Update
Xavi offered an update on Lewandowski at his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit from Valencia. The manager did not reveal when Lewandowski would be ready to return but did say his top scorer had “good feelings” after returning to training.
Lewandowski is not the only player missing through injury currently. Pedri and Ousmane Dembele remain on the sidelines, although Andreas Christensen is fit to return after missing the Clasico win at the Bernabeu.
The Dane has shaken off an ankle problem and is in the squad.
One key name missing from the squad list is midfielder Gavi. The teenager is a key player for Gavi but will also miss the visit from Valencia as he is banned after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season.
Xavi Banned From Touchline
Xavi is also banned from Sunday’s match for yellow card accumulation and will not be on the touchline against Valencia. The coach spoke about his suspension and played down any suggestions it will affect his team.
“Tomorrow we will decide where I will watch the match, maybe in an elevated area where you can see the football better,” he said. “It won’t change much. It’ll be the same structure, same routine. The only thing is I won’t be able to sit on the bench.”
Barcelona can extend their lead above Real Madrid to 10 points with a win, as the Catalans play before their bitter rivals this weekend. Xavi made it clear his team need to put pressure on Los Blancos.
“I hope we have the intensity we need. I don’t want a repeat of Almeria. And then we have to wait for the Madrid result,” he explained. “But yes we have to win. We dropped three points against Almeria. No more mistakes allowed.”
Barcelona face a Valencia side who begin the weekend in the bottom three. The Catalans won 1-0 when the two teams met earlier this season, with Lewandowski scoring the only goal of the game deep into stoppage time at Mestalla.
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