April 25, 2024

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández urged João Félix to make use of disparaging feedback from his former teammates to encourage him towards Atlético Madrid on Sunday.

João Félix, 24, joined Barça on a season-long mortgage from Atlético in the summertime and can face his dad or mum membership for the primary time on Sunday on the Olympic Stadium.

Stream LIVE: Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid, Sunday, 2:50 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Atlético ahead Antoine Griezmann stated this week the Portugal worldwide “lacked the consistency” to succeed on the membership, whereas Saúl Ñiguez famous “he might have accomplished issues” higher throughout his 4 years with the Rojiblancos.

“The feedback made by his former teammates ought to encourage him,” Xavi instructed a information convention on Saturday.

“Enjoying towards your outdated group is an added motivation. He’s motivated, joyful and constant [at Barça]. I’m delighted along with his performances and the way he has tailored to the group.

“I wasn’t at Atlético with him. Right here we now have seen a extremely joyful João Félix, exhausting working, dynamic, liked within the dressing room and a joker. He works exhausting for the group and scores necessary targets. I’ve no complaints.”

João Félix, who ended a 12-game aim drought by scoring the winner towards FC Porto on Tuesday, has spoken since becoming a member of Barça about how way more snug he feels with the Catalan group’s type of play.

In an interview with ESPN on Friday, he stated that Atlético’s gamers “could be mendacity” in the event that they claimed they didn’t wish to play extra attacking soccer as nicely.

Sunday’s recreation guarantees to be a conflict of these two kinds, though Atlético have outscored Barça in each LaLiga and the Champions League this season and go into the fixture forward of them within the desk on aim distinction.

“It is an necessary recreation,” Xavi added. “It is nonetheless solely three factors, nevertheless it’s towards a direct rival who’re in nice type.

“We’ve to dominate the sport, flow into the ball excessive up the pitch and assault the areas. They defend in a low block and are aggressive. It will likely be tough.

“I’d spotlight the work accomplished by coach [Diego Simeone]. Day by day that passes I’ve extra respect and admiration for him. Their type is completely different to ours nevertheless it’s to be praised.”

Iñaki Peña will proceed in aim for Barça with Marc-André ter Stegen dominated out with a again damage, whereas Gavi can be a long-term absentee for the Blaugrana.

A win for Barça, who booked their place within the Champions League spherical of 16 in midweek by beating Porto, will see them transfer again into the highest three, forward of Atlético and behind Girona and Actual Madrid.

“If issues do not got here off [on Sunday], there’s nonetheless time,” Xavi stated of the significance of the sport when it comes to the LaLiga title race.

“However we wish to proceed the nice dynamic. The second half towards Porto was superb. It’s a check towards a prime group this weekend, however LaLiga is lengthy. There are 4 factors between the highest 4, if issues do not work [on Sunday], we hold going.”

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