Barcelona head coach Xavi was full of praise for forward Ansu Fati following Saturday night’s 4-0 win over Elche in La Liga, extending the lead over Real Madrid to 15 points until at least Sunday afternoon.
Fati started the game – only his 10th in La Liga so far this season – and scored the second goal that effectively ended things as a contest early in the second half.
“Ferran [Torres] and Ansu made the difference. I’m very happy for them because they needed a bit of confidence. I’m very happy with Ferran and Ansu. They will score more goals for sure,” Xavi said.
“Ansu needed that goal. Forwards change their faces when they score, you can tell. He was very tired at the end, because he worked very hard for the team in defence. The goal is the result of his hard work and individual talent.”
Xavi’s praise comes less than a week after the player’s father, Bori Fati, expressed anger over his son’s lack of playing time this season.
“Good question, ask [Xavi],“ Bori Fati sniped on the Spanish radio station Cadena COPE when asked why Fati Jr. hasn’t often started. “I don’t have an answer for that either and he as a coach will have his reasons. Maybe he thinks he lacks things like defending and I understand that.”
Bori also appeared to offer thinly veiled threats that his son could move on.
“I as a father am angry, yes. Maybe I’m not right, but I don’t have a problem with that. Everybody knows who [Jorge] Mendes is. He told me two years ago that he had offers and [Josep Maria] Bartomeu didn’t want to listen to them.
“For Ansu yes. It will depend on what Barça wants. If it’s for me, I want to see Ansu succeeding, because he is a guy who comes to succeed. There are things you can’t discuss.”
It was later reported in Spain that Ansu quickly sought to patch things up with the club, telling Xavi that he did not agree with his father’s outburst.
90min revealed in February that Fati is keen to play in the Premier League in the future and his representatives have let it be known to Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Newcastle that he has been unhappy with his situation at Barcelona.
Club president Joan Laporta’s stance on the matter at the time was: “He is a Barça player, in whom we have high hopes and we have no news that his agent wants to do anything.”
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more! If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!