Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has admitted that summer signing Pablo Torre is in a “difficult situation” at the club after struggling for game time so far in 2022-23.
Torre joined the club from Racing Santander on a four-year deal and has already been linked with an exit. The youngster has only made one substitute appearance and faces stiff competition for a place.
Xavi spoke about the 19-year-old at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash against Athletic and said he wants the midfielder to play more but it’s difficult given the other options he has available.
“The other day [against Villarreal] I wanted to make him play a few minutes, but there were physical discomforts, injury prevention situations, which forced us to make changes at 3-0,” he explained. “It was a good time for him to come out and show that he is training well, but there is competition and sometimes we decide to put other players in that position. It’s a difficult situation for him, but it’s a matter of patience. He’s training well and I’m sure his time will come.”
Torre is battling with Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Gavi, and Franck Kessie for minutes and may have to get used to life on the bench. The youngster made one start for Barca Atletic during the international break but Xavi has preferred to keep him with the first-team squad rather than let him drop back down to Rafa Marquez’s reserves.
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Xavi On Frenkie de Jong
Xavi also spoke about another midfielder, Frenkie de Jong, who came in for captain Sergio Busquets against Villarreal and put in a strong performance in the 3-0 victory at the Camp Nou.
“Because of his potential, I see him more as an interior, although he’s very good in defence. I think he can be differential at an offensive level… the other day he had a great game,” he said. “He has to be important, I like him and he has tremendous potential. I see that when the game is front of him he sees it better. You have to play him facing the opposition.”
De Jong has been on the fringes this season, with Xavi preferring Busquets, Gavi and Pedri as his three, but his midweek performance means the coach now has a big decision to make regarding his line-up for the visit of Athletic.
Barcelona Set For Changes
Xavi will make changes to his team for the match. The game comes amid a hectic schedule for Barca, with the Catalan giants set to face Bayern Munich in midweek in the Champions League.
The coach admitted he will rotate once again after making five changes to his starting XI last time out against Unai Emery’s side.
“We will make changes because there is fatigue and discomfort, some more forced than others,” he explained. “I would like to give continuity to some players, but we have to prioritize so that the team is at 100%.”
Torre will be hoping for minutes if Xavi does indeed rotate but is likely to be only a substitute at the Camp Nou at best as Barcelona look to keep pace with Real Madrid at the top of the table.