Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has, on Saturday night, spoken out over the recent struggles of midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
Nico strikes late
Barca were of course back in La Liga action earlier today.
After a late collapse at Osasuna last time out saw the Blaugrana’s winless streak across all competitions reach the figure of three, Xavi and co. welcomed relegation-battling Elche to Catalunya, eyeing a much-needed three points.
And, when all was said and done, this is precisely what Barcelona secured.
After again throwing away the advantage, this time a two-goal one, to allow Elche back into proceedings courtesy of a quick-fire 2nd-half double, the hosts eventually bagged an all-important 3rd five minutes from time.
Youngster Nico proved the hero, latching onto the heavily-involved Gavi’s pull-back before slotting home in style at the near post:
Nico makes it 3-2 to Barcelona! 🔵🔴
Brilliant assist from Gavi 🔥 pic.twitter.com/7s5Ly2xgjf
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) December 18, 2021
Whilst, in the end, their side managed to get the job done on Saturday, however, amid a tense 2nd-half atmosphere at the Camp Nou, sections of the Barcelona faithful began to make their frustrations with those on the pitch crystal clear.
One such player targeted came in the form of Frenkie de Jong, who, amid another underwhelming all-round display, was met by a combination of applause and whistles upon being hauled off.
In turn, speaking to the media post-match tonight, it came as little surprise when Xavi was drawn on de Jong’s situation, and the latest criticisms directed at his midfield star.
The Barca boss, though, was quick to jump to de Jong’s defence, assuring that he continues to make ‘an amazing effort’, before confirming that the Dutchman was dealing with a bout of fatigue versus Elche:
‘De Jong has given us things. He has perhaps not been as fluid as Gavi or Nico today, but he is making an amazing effort. He has had discomfort all week. It is a matter of fatigue, because has played practically every minute.’
🔥 Xavi Hernández surt en defensa de Frenkie de Jong
🗨 “Fa un esforç espectacular, ens ha aportat un treball fosc molt bo”https://t.co/kFccA8jqxf
— Esport3 (@esport3) December 18, 2021
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