Barcelona’s Xavi on Dembele return: ‘Few better than him’
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has stated there are few forwards better than Ousmane Dembele because the Frenchman prepares to return to motion after a prolonged damage layoff.
Dembele, 25, was anticipated to be out for as much as six weeks after injuring his thigh towards Girona in January however spent three months on the sidelines.
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However, the winger returned to coaching earlier this month and has been included within the squad to face Real Betis this weekend as Barca shut in on a primary LaLiga title since 2019.
“We have missed Ousmane,” Xavi stated in a information convention on Friday. “He is the best player we have in one-on-one situations. There are few better than him.
“His restoration has taken longer [than expected] however he’s again and he’s joyful. We will see if he can begin on Saturday or come on. It’s nice information to have him out there.”
Without Dembele, Barca have been eliminated from the Europa League and the Copa del Rey, although they have built an 11-point lead at the top of the table with just seven games to go.
Dembele, who has scored eight goals and provided seven assists this season, can now play his part as Barca look to follow up Spanish Super Cup success with the LaLiga title.
Despite boasting a commanding lead over Real Madrid in second place, Xaxi was asked if he feels it is taking a long time for Barca to get over the line after they lost 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.
“What felt like an eternity was final 12 months, preventing to get second place,” Xavi said. “This season is just not dragging in any respect; it makes me joyful. I do not get [the media] typically.
“I am enjoying myself in LaLiga this season. I think we are competing well. Who would not have taken this position at the start of the year? I am having a great time. Last season’s league campaign dragged, not this one.
“It would not shock me. I stated it on the day of my presentation, that is probably the most tough membership on the planet. Winning 1-0 is just not sufficient right here. We have received 1-0 lots this season taking part in properly, nevertheless it’s not sufficient.
“You have to win and convince with your performances. We give credit to what we are doing internally, but we now have to win this league for it to be a good season.”
As properly as Dembele, Andreas Christensen, who has not performed since March, can be within the squad to face Betis following Pedri and Frenkie de Jong’s returns to motion final weekend.
Lamine Yamal, 15, is as soon as once more included within the squad, too, with Sergi Roberto the one participant lacking via damage.
Betis, in the meantime, arrive at Camp Nou on the again of only one win of their final 5 video games, a run of kind which has seen them slip to sixth, six factors again from the fourth and last qualifying spot for the Champions League.