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Xavi backs 18-year-old Barcelona gem to come good on first start: “He has been exceptional”

Just minutes before Barcelona’s kickoff against Unionistas de Salamanca in the Copa del Rey Round of 16, manager Xavi Hernandez spoke to Movistar+ (h/t SPORT), during which he discussed his team selection.

One of the major talking points after Xavi released the starting XI is that Marc Guiu is making his first start for Barcelona, ahead of new arrival Vitor Roque.

Backing the La Masia graduate to come good, the manager said: “We trust in the home-grown players. Marc has shown it in the opportunities we’ve given him. He has been exceptional. We put out the team that we believe is the best to get through the tie.”

Sergi Roberto has been deployed at right-back after starting the last few games in midfield, but Xavi said he expects the captain to perform well wherever he plays.

Moving on, Xavi also discussed the atmosphere at Estadio Municipal Reina Sofia for tonight, saying:

“Barça haven’t been here since 1998, so it’s normal that there will be an atmosphere. It will be a difficult game. For them it’s the game of their lives, so we have to match their intensity to win the qualification.

“They’re going to give their all, so we’ll have to match their intensity.”

On what to expect from the team after their recent displays, he added: “We are fine, we know we weren’t up to the task in the Super Cup, but that can be solved by winning, playing better, and achieving our objective: to win a title this season, at least.

“The idea is to play a good game, dominate, have a good feeling.”

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