Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has handed his full backing to misfiring forward Ferran Torres who has been criticized by supporters since arriving at the club from Manchester City in January.
Torres cost Barcelona €55 million from Pep Guardiola’s side but has only scored once in six appearances this season and is no longer guaranteed a place in the starting XI following the arrivals of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.
Xavi was asked about Torres at a pre-match press conference before his team’s La Liga clash with Elche on Saturday, September 17 and gave his full backing to the Spain international.
“I have a lot of trust in Ferran. People shouldn’t just take into account the goals he scores, but also the intensity, the rhythm, his press, how he plays with his teammates,” he said. “The other day he assisted and he scored and that’s what I like to see. Besides sacrificing himself for the team he also helped us. He’s an important player for me and the team.”
Torres has now played a total of 32 games for Barcelona, scoring eight times and contributing seven assists. Yet Torres has been wasteful in front of goals and fans can perhaps be forgiven for expecting more from a player who certainly did not come cheap
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Xavi Urges Barcelona To Bounce Back
Xavi also looked ahead to his team’s next game against Elche and urged his side to bounce back from the disappointment of their midweek Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.
“They made our lives difficult last season. They have changed up their system with a new coach. They are not doing great in terms of the standings but they are a physical opponent,” he explained. “We understand the system they use, they are very versatile. They know how to keep the ball. It’s an important game after losing against Bayern. We want to get back to winning ways.”
Barcelona remain unbeaten in La Liga and will be favorites to beat an Elche side who have managed just one point in five games so far in 2022-23 and are yet to taste victory.
Barcelona Could Go Top?
Saturday’s game is Barcelona’s final fixture before La Liga pauses for an international break. A win for the Catalans, coupled with results elsewhere, could see the Catalans spend the next two weeks on top of the table.
Current leaders Real Madrid face a tricky test at Atletico Madrid on Sunday and Xavi admitted he would be watching the game with some interest.
“We need to play our game tomorrow and then we’ll see the other results. We will be watching the other games, particularly games like the Madrid derby,” he said. “We are focused on beating Elche, leaving with good sensations. We need to win. We want the three points. It won’t be easy, everyone expects the win. First let’s focus on us and then we’ll look at the league. If Madrid drops points then that’s good for us.”
Real Madrid head into the weekend two points clear of Barca and yet to drop even a point this season. Atletico have had a tricky start, and are down in seventh in the table, but would love nothing better than to end Los Blancos’ unbeaten start.