Xavi Says ‘Amazing’ Midfielder Is a ‘Genius’ After Barcelona Win

Xavi Hernandez

Getty Xavi Hernandez during Barcelona's clash with Sevilla.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez was full of praise for midfielder Frenkie de Jong after the team’s impressive 4-2 Europa League play-off win over Napoli on Thursday, February 24.

The Netherlands international played a starring role for the Catalans and scored the team’s second goal with a sumptuous curling effort from range that flew past goalkeeper Alex Meret.

Xavi talked up De Jong after the victory in his post-match press conference and made it clear just how impressed he was with the Netherlands international’s performance.

“Frenkie de Jong is a genius – he’s really, really amazing,” he said after the match, as reported by Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano. “He’s demanding, I’ve rarely come across a player as self-critical as he is. That makes him better. At the beginning, he didn’t understand what we wanted from him, but now things are getting better and he is making a clear development.”

Xavi also went on to praise the rest of the team for their “most complete” performance of the season, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

“It is the most complete game. We have played football very well, we have dominated a whole Napoli team. The game has been very good, very happy for the work, for the effort. Very happy for the team. In general, very satisfied with the team’s game,” he added. “We are not favourites. We must continue working with all the humility in the world, we have not won anything.”

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Jordi Alba Talks Barcelona Win

Barcelona defender Jordi Alba was also on the scoresheet against Napoli. The left-back tucked home the opening goal in Naples after the visitors had caught Luciano Spalletti’s men out with a quick counter-attack.

Alba told Movistar that he is happy with the way the team is playing right now and feels Barcelona fully deserved their victory at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, as reported by Marca.

“I think we played a great game. We are on a great run of results and play. In the end we conceded too many but well, we have to be happy and move on,” he said. “We have players who know how to hold the ball at key moments in the game and pace up front. We have to take advantage of all that! We managed the game well. Thanks to mine and Frenkie’s goals we were comfortable. Our attitude, and intensity are very good.”

Barcelona Heading in the Right Direction

Thursday’s win follows on from impressive La Liga victories over Atletico Madrid and Valencia, and Alba says the team are finally heading in the right direction after a difficult few seasons for the Catalans.

“They were very nice goals but what matters is that they go in. We have to believe in ourselves. Playing like this will bring great results,” he added. “We have had difficult times and we will continue to go through them but we have to be more united than ever. We are generating a good group, people are enthusiastic about the team.”

Barcelona will now head back to Spain to prepare for a La Liga clash against Athletic at the Camp Nou on Sunday, February 27.

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