Barcelona secured a third consecutive win in La Liga on Tuesday night as they beat Celta Vigo 3-1 at Camp Nou.
Memphis Depay handed the Catalans the lead around the half-hour mark before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the hosts’ advantage close to half-time.
The Gabonese forward bagged his second of the night early in the second period to make it 3-0 and effectively kill the tie off. Iago Aspas pulled a goal back for Celta Vigo, but could not spark a fightback as Jeison Murillo’s red card reduced the visitors to ten men.
The victory sees Barcelona stretch their lead in the second place to seven points over Sevilla in third, who have a game in hand.
Manager Xavi Hernandez spoke after the match and talked about his team playing in a different formation (4-2-3-1) on the night, stating that they had not trained much on the new shape.
We have tried to change the system, starting with a line of three behind, with Alba and Alves getting inside. It’s true that we had not worked hard on it,” he said.
The team was not comfortable with the formation. We barely trained it, true. That’s why I subbed in Riqui in the second half.”
He further added that while the result was positive, he was not entirely pleased with the performance, saying: “We’ve had verticality and effectiveness, but we haven’t played a good game.
“We’ve been winning three games in a row but the sensations aren’t good. We have to play better, have more patience, better understand what the game demands.”
“We missed important players like Busquets, Piqué and Pedri. They are players who make a difference,” Xavi further insisted.
Ronald Araujo was involved in an unfortunate incident that saw him pick up a head injury and stretchered off the field in an ambulance in the second half. Speaking about the Uruguayan defender, Xavi said:
“The doctors have told us he is conscious and that he will be spending the rest of the night in the hospital, although we were scared at first.”
The manager was full of praise for Ousmane Dembele, who grabbed two assists on the night, saying: “Making a difference is not just scoring goals. The first goal is practically his, then he provides another goal for Auba. Ousmane is making a difference for us.”
Xavi also spoke about Riqui Puig’s display on the night, as he said: “Today I tried a different system… A double pivot with full-backs fit better. I’m happy with Puig, but he has a lot of competition in his position.”
There was a lot of praise for Memphis Depay as well, as Xavi hailed the Dutchman, saying: “He is a leader, he works a lot and he makes a difference. We must value him.”
The 42-year-old also spoke about Ansu Fati, insisting that the youngster will get more minutes in the upcoming game.
“He has been very good, very dynamic… I see him very well, in Getafe we are supposed to be able to give him more minutes. He played good today,” Xavi said.
As for the upcoming game against Getafe, the manager said: “The second position is not yet achieved and we have to go to Getafe to win.”
Finally, Xavi also took the occasion to congratulate former Barcelona transfer target Erling Haaland, whose move to Manchester City was officially confirmed on Tuesday.
“I wish Haaland all the best at City. We couldn’t compete economically,” the Barça boss said.