FC Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez was critical of his players Lamine Yamal and Alejandro Balde following his team’s 2-1 win over Osasuna in La Liga on Sunday.
Jules Kounde put the Catalans ahead in stoppage time of the first half with a header from an Ilkay Gundogan corner.
After Chimy Avila equalized and looked to sentence Barca to their second draw of the season, Robert Lewandowski saved their blushes via a late penalty and made sure they went into the international break just two points behind bitter rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table.
As communicated by both goals coming from dead ball situations, Barca struggled to create in open play.
Lamine Yamal wasn’t able to recreate his MVP-earning performance against Villarreal last time out, and Balde fared no better on the opposite left flank when allowed to charge forward as Gavi provided cover.
Interviewed post-match, Xavi was careful not to be too harsh on the youngsters but noted to DAZN that his team “lacked the one against one of Lamine and Balde”.
“When we had dominance we weren’t able to generate more in attack, but in this stadium it will be difficult for everyone,” the manager noted.
Xavi also felt that his men could have been more patient, yet he did praise them for suffering but still prevailing with the three points.
“It is always very difficult in El Sadar. I’m happy with the team’s performance. They are a very intense and very vertical side,” Xavi explained.
The Blaugrana’s two new signings on deadline day – Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix – were allowed to debut in the second half as substitutes.
Discussing his only natural right back, Xavi said that his team can have “more superiority” inside with Cancelo plus direct passing from central defense to the wing.
“We will look to populate the midfield and dominate the game,” the legendary number 6 vowed.
Moving forward, Xavi thinks that Felix can offer him a lot as either a striker or a left winger.
“I really liked the attitude of both of them,” Xavi revealed of the two Joaos.
“He [Felix] can give us a lot, but I would highlight the attitude with which he has come to the team.”
In Barca’s first match after the international break, a home meeting with Real Betis in La Liga on September 16, the Portuguese duo could make their first starts in Blaugrana colors.