Barcelona of old returning, warns Xavi

Xavi believes Barcelona are back to their best under Gerardo Martino after humbling Levante 7-0 in their opening Liga fixture on Sunday.

Barca started their season with a bang, running home six first-half goals against the Valencian side, to begin the Martino era at Camp Nou in style.

And Xavi credited a return to the high-pressing game that Barcelona succeeded with under Pep Guardiola as key to their crushing victory.

"I’m very happy with the way we’ve started," he said after the victory.

"Last year we trained little on tactics when Tito (Vilanova) was in New York. Now we have recovered the mechanisms we had lost then.

"We’ve recovered our high pressure, just like Tata Martino wanted. We’ve regained this aspect of our play and that’s what we were looking for, we trained hard throughout the whole preseason.

"Tata is a hard-working manager, he’s close to his players and he observant. He’s very respectful, he has a winning mentality and I think it’s going to go very well."

The 33-year-old also revealed Martino has demanded a more attacking outlook from his midfield ranks this term.

"The boss doesn’t want the midfielders to drop and build the play up from the back," he added. "That’s what the full-backs do.

"He wants us to be in the influential zone of the pitch, he wants us to give the assists and to be closer to the area."


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