Xavi: It’s a blessing to have Lewandowski, he is a natural leader

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Xavi Hernandez spoke to the media after Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Real Valladolid at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Robert Lewandowski scored twice and Pedri and Sergi Roberto were also on target.

Here’s what the Barça coach had to say:

Winning: It was not perfect but it was a good performance. The first 40 minutes were really good. We relaxed after that. You have to keep pushing. We really want to give back to the fans, especially after the start to the season against Rayo Vallecano [a goalless draw]. This result is good for the team and the supporters.

Lewandowski: It’s a blessing to have him. Apart from the goals, I would highlight his timing. Everything that he does that perhaps the fans don’t see so much, in terms off of the ball, is extraordinary. He is a natural leader. It’s incredible how he’s adapted to the group. He works so hard, he’s an example.

Alejandro Balde: He played because he is playing very well, he had a good preseason, and he deserved to play. This is a meritocracy and it’s his moment. But there will be moments for Jordi [Alba], and for Gerard [Pique], who is not playing so much. We have Sevilla next week, games every three days, a demanding schedule (…) there will be games and opportunities for everyone. I would not say Jordi or Gerard are substitutes. Competition makes everyone better and it will depend on performances. As for Balde, I am very happy for him, 18 years old, showing great personality, very strong, he can dribble, could play as a winger, attacking quality… I am really happy for him

Eric Garcia: Great performance today from him. He could be a captain at 21, 22. It is easy to coach him. He is competitive, is good at bringing the ball out… he’s a fucking great professional.

Alba and Pique: I try to be honest with the players and pick those I see performing best. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes. They’re going to play, be important, they’re the captains, they were encouraging [the team] before the game, which says a lot about them, their humility and how they have accepted the situation. They can be very important for the team. They are going to play, no doubt, and are going to be important.

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