Xavi cheered for Ferran Torres and Sergi Roberto as Barcelona secured their seventh consecutive La Liga win and were again eight points clear of Real Madrid.
Head coach Xavi made drastic changes to his squad but saw Barcelona beat Cadiz 2-0 at the Camp Nou.
The named Sergi Roberto opened the ball after Robert Lewandowski headed off the line, followed by Lewandowski’s second shot.
Both goals came in the closing stages of the first half as Barcelona did just enough to defeat their unassuming visitors, albeit using their luck to keep another clean sheet.
It was their 17th out in 22 domestic league games this season, a record number at this stage of the season, with two disallowed goals from Cadiz, causing disappointment for the away side, who Xavi thought deserved a goal.
17. This season, Barcelona have kept 17 clean sheets in La Liga, a record for the team after their first 22 games of the season, surpassing Deportivo La Coruña in 1993/94 (16). Wall. pic.twitter.com/fRyV3KLkIx
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 19, 2023
Torres and Sergi Roberto were among those who joined the squad for Sunday’s game between the Europa League mid-week play-offs against Manchester United.
Both were impressive: Torres on the right of the attack and the tenacious Sergi Roberto in midfield.
Xavi said that Torres has “taken a step forward to gain confidence” and will be important for the rest of the season if he maintains his level, but his highest compliments have gone to Sergi Roberto.
“He’s a player who can play in different positions and he’s fantastic,” Xavi said of his former teammate.
The versatile 31-year-old, who came into the final six months of his contract, has been described in some circles as a player with little to offer this incarnation of Barcelona, but Xavi sees it differently.
“The criticism against him is very unfair,” Xavi said. “Of course, I want him to extend the contract, for me he gives a guarantee. I see how he trains and how he plays and he is always criticized. This is one of the most unfair situations I have ever seen in my life.”
Xavi said Barcelona were “very good” in the first half, but worse after half-time when goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen was busy.
“We gave a lot, and I didn’t like it. Cadiz deserved the goal and Mark had to make some outstanding saves,” Xavi said.
“But the team has achieved its goal and continues to show good results. I like the momentum we have, we have kept a clean sheet and continue our eight-point lead.”