Sergi in contact with Xavi ahead of Barcelona unveiling

By Sports Desk November 05, 2021

Sergi Barjuan is willing to help Barcelona in any way he can, having been in contact with next coach Xavi ahead of his arrival at Camp Nou.

Xavi is soon to be confirmed as the latest Blaugrana boss, with Al Sadd confirming on Friday they had agreed a deal with the Catalans for his departure.

The Barca great, who played 767 times for the club, second only to Lionel Messi (778), will succeed Sergi, who has served as interim coach since Ronald Koeman was sacked.

With the team preparing for Saturday's game at Celta Vigo, Sergi was keen to wait on official news of Xavi's appointment.

"Al Sadd has made the statement, Barca has not yet," he told a news conference. "We have to wait for it to be from both sides.

"We have a good relationship and I have contact with him. If there are any questions, I will be happy to help the club.

"I am the interim coach, I try to contribute so that the team performs. Whether Xavi is a good candidate is a question for the president."

The move means Sergi steps aside after just two games in the hot seat, a 1-1 draw with Deportivo Alaves and then a vital 1-0 Champions League win against Dynamo Kiev.

Certainty was needed in the dugout, with 16 points from 11 league games Barca's worst start since 2002-03, but Sergi's final test is a tough one. Barca have lost three times at Balaidos in LaLiga since 2015-16 – more than at any other away ground in that time.

"It's normal [to step aside], but I already knew it," said the coach, whose only previous game against Celta as a manager was a 2-2 draw with Almeria in 2015. "I knew this had an expiration date, but I'm happy.

"I just have the last step that is tomorrow. We are going to work hard because they are going to demand a lot from us. Historically, they have created problems for us. If we play like in Kiev, I will be happy.

"In the end, when you have a candy and you stop tasting it, you dislike it, but I'm very happy because the little details I've put into the team have been reflected."

Sergi believes Barca have a squad good enough to "fight and be higher in LaLiga and qualify for the Champions League".

However, one player Xavi will not be able to call upon right away is Ousmane Dembele, who suffered a hamstring injury in training having returned from knee surgery against Dynamo on Tuesday.

The winger, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked to Newcastle United, has played over 1,000 minutes in a LaLiga season only twice since his €105million transfer from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

Discussing Dembele's return in the Champions League, Sergi said: "When you take charge, you have to make decisions. We were all happy to see Dembele.

"We had a rest day and he got injured in training. If he wasn't injured, no one would speak about this. Dembele played and won, but these are situations that can happen to a player. Football has that risk."

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