Xavi Reveals Details of ‘Face-to-Face Chat’ With Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong

Getty Frenkie de Jong in action for Barcelona.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has revealed he has had a talk with midfielder Frenkie de Jong after the Dutchman reacted strongly to being substituted against Rayo Vallecano.

De Jong made his frustrations clear when he was replaced after an hour of the 1-0 defeat at the Camp Nou last time out. Xavi told a pre-match press conference on Saturday, April 30 that he understands De Jong’s reaction.

“I have said it several times. Frenkie is a player who can make the difference in every game. We had a face-to-face chat this week and it was very good. I think after that he came out feeling calm,” he said. “After that game he was frustrated, and I can understand that, Frenkie has had great performances for us, excellent games, he needs to be constant, try things. He’s strong physically, he can make the final pass, he can make the difference. I told him I don’t think I see other players like him. He needs to transmit that on the pitch. He’s an important player for now and the future.”

De Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United. Incoming coach Erik ten Hag wants to make the midfielder, who he worked with at Ajax, his first signing, as reported by Diario Sport.

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Barcelona Face Real Mallorca Next

De Jong is set to return to action against Real Mallorca and looks a certain starter for the match, particularly with midfielders Pedri and Nico Gonzalez due to miss the game through injury.

Xavi spoke about the match and made it clear his team have to get back to winning ways after suffering three consecutive home defeats in a season for the first time in the club’s history.

“This week has been great for us. We’ve been able to recover players and the team, mentally and physically. We were sad a nd angry, but we’ve started working to improve things,” he said. “We’ve lost two great chances to qualify for the Champions League but there is another game at home tomorrow. We need those three points and to get the good feelings back. There’s a lot at stake in the last games of the season for everyone. We need a final effort, to achieve our objective.”

Barcelona can move back into second place in the table and two points above Sevilla with a victory. Sevilla were held to a surprise 1-1 draw at home to Cadiz on Friday, April 29.

Xavi Talks Barcelona Injuries

Xavi does have plenty of injury issues to contend with ahead of the match. Pedri, Sergi Roberto, Nico Gonzalez, and Sergino Dest are all injured, while Oscar Mingueza and Martin Braithwaite have tested positive for Covid-19.

Ousmane Dembele and Gerard Pique both missed training ahead of the match, and Xavi offered an update on the current injury situation at the Camp Nou.

“Pedri got injured, it’s a shame, he’s working by himself but we have to see how he goes. Pique has been managing a tendon issue for some months,” he said. “Sergi Roberto’s operation went well but he’s had another muscular injury which might be 2-3 weeks. Nico has a fracture yesterday, he crashed into Ansu, it’s a shame. We need all of our squad. We also have two players out with Covid. Dembele had tonsillitis today as well.”

Yet Xavi could be able to call on Ansu Fati for the first time January. The coach confirmed the teenager will be in the squad and will “get some minutes tomorrow” if all goes well.

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