Barcelona manager Xavi says the Nou Camp crowd ‘didn’t listen’ to him by jeering Ousmane Dembele but plays down whistles the Frenchman received in 1-1 draw with Napoli
- Ousmane Dembele received deafening jeers from Barcelona fans on Thursday
- The Frenchman though was Barcelona’s best player when he was brought on
- Dembele, 24, has refused to sign a new contract with the LaLiga giants
- Xavi has played down the whistles saying that they quickly turned to applause
- He also spoke of Ferran Torres who twice missed late chances to put them 2-1 up
Xavi played down the Camp Nou’s whistles for Ousmane Dembele, and defended Ferran Torres who was left in tears after he missed three chances to win the game for Barcelona against Napoli.
Dembele seemed unaffected by deafening jeers from Barça fans when he came on as a second half substitute. He was the best player on the pitch for the last 20 minutes.
In contrast Torres was inconsolable after he twice missed late chances to put Barcelona 2-1 up.
Ousmane Dembele received deafening jeers when he came on as a second half substitute
Xavi said fans had ignored his pleas to not jeer Dembele but played down the whistles he received
But of his misfiring striker Xavi was full of praise comparing his situation with Luis Suarez who went on to become Barcelona’s third-time leading scorer.
‘We were just making a comparison in the dressing room,’ he said. ‘It happened to Luis Suarez, who looked like he didn’t have a goal in him [when he arrived].
‘The Barça shirt weighs a little heavier. But I’m delighted to have him [Torres] in the team and he will bring us a lot of joy.
‘He’s scored goals all his life and he will score for us. In training he is one of those who scores the most. He has our absolute confidence. This won’t affect him [long term]. Me and my staff will make sure of that. He is very strong. He just demands a lot of himself.’
Dembele, who has rejected a contract offer, was Barcelona’s best player when he came on
Dembele seemed unaffected by the deafening jeers he was subjected to at the Nou Camp
Of Dembele Xavi was asked about the Camp Nou’s reaction to the player who will leave the club for free at the end of the season after refusing to sign a new contract on a reduced salary.
Xavi had asked supporters not to jeer the player who he wants to use between now and the end of the season: ‘The crowd didn’t listen to me,’ he said.
‘But in the end it turned into applause. Now we have whistled him and that’s it. It’s over. The news is that the whistles have turned into applause’.
Ex-Man City star Ferran Torres was inconsolable after twice missing chances which would have put Barcelona ahead
Xavi compared Torres’ situation to that of Luis Suarez when the Uruguayan joined in 2014
In truth the applause only came after Dembele showed he was completely unfazed by the extraordinary reaction. The player, who Barcelona believe as an agreement to join Paris Saint Germain on a free this summer, was told he would not play anymore if he stayed at the club beyond the transfer window.
Xavi was also asked about former Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was tidy on his full debut but showed not of the explosive goal threat that once made him prolific at Arsenal.
He said: ‘He was very good in space and intense with his pressing. He tried the goals will come for him.’
Xavi also had praise for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who did a steady job on his debut