'It was a day to dare' – Xavi delighted after Barca patiently dismantle Sevilla

By Sports Desk February 05, 2023

Xavi praised his Barcelona players for remaining patient in their 3-0 victory over Sevilla as the LaLiga leaders moved eight points clear of Real Madrid.

Barca dominated Sunday's contest at Camp Nou before eventually finding the breakthrough via full-back Jordi Alba in the 58th minute.

Gavi added a second 12 minutes later and Raphinha, who assisted that goal, added his name to the scoresheet as Barca made it 10 wins in a row this year.

Sevilla focused almost entirely on defending, managing only three shots in total to Barca's 16, and Xavi is delighted his side were able to break down the visitors.

"This was a day to dare," he told DAZN. "We talked about it at half-time. It's always difficult to attack when the opponent has 11 players behind the ball.

"But we did it very well and I'm very satisfied with this result."

 

Barca took full advantage of Real Madrid's surprise 1-0 loss at Real Mallorca earlier in the day to extend their lead at the summit as they close in on a first title in four seasons.

"We've gone many games unbeaten and it's important we win like we did today," Xavi said. "Against a low block, we created many chances – that is a big positive.

"Things are working out for us. We're eight points ahead of Madrid, but there is still a lot of the season left."

With a goal and an assist against Sevilla, Raphinha has been involved in more goals (eight – four goals and four assists) than any other LaLiga player in all competitions in 2023.

Xavi hailed the Brazil international's performance and also reserved special praise for Alba, who himself scored and assisted in a single LaLiga game for the fourth time.

"I was already satisfied with Raphinha's performances," Xavi said. "He is good in high-pressure scenarios and has been giving us decisive assists. He's an extraordinary player.

"As for Jordi, he gives us a lot in attack and showed that again today. We knew there would be an opportunity to take advantage of some space that was left."

Alba was recalled to the starting line-up having been made to settle for substitute appearances of late and took full advantage of his opportunity to impress.

"I take advantage of the minutes when I play; when I don't, I dedicate myself to encouraging the youngsters so they know what it means to play for this club," Alba said.

"We are having a very good season, playing well, pressing well and getting our rivals to give us chances. 

"There are eight points on Madrid and, although there is a lot of the league season left, it is a very good distance to have."

Barca's 53 points after 20 LaLiga matches has only been matched or bettered on five previous occasions, including themselves four times.

The only blemish for Xavi's side was captain Sergio Busquets limping off early following a challenge with Youssef En-Nesyri.

Busquets is reported to have sprained his right ankle and is facing two-to-three weeks out, potentially ruling him out of Barca's Europa League tie with Manchester United.

"Hopefully it's nothing serious," Xavi said. "First we'll do tests and then we'll know more."

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