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Xavi Encourages Felix to Use Atletico Criticism as Motivation




Atletico playmaker Antoine Griezmann recently remarked that Felix lacked consistency, while midfielder Saul Niguez also pointed out areas for improvement.

Simeone, on the other hand, declined to comment on the forward, stating that he was no longer at the club despite still being an Atletico player.

Xavi, speaking to reporters on Saturday, urged Felix to use the criticism as extra motivation against Atletico. “I see that he is motivated and happy, and I am pleased with his consistent performance and how he has adapted to the group,” Xavi added.

Barcelona loaned Atletico’s record 126 million euro ($137 million) signing in the summer, and after a promising start, he experienced difficulties.

Felix broke his goal drought, scoring against Porto on Tuesday as Barcelona secured qualification to the Champions League last 16.

Xavi hopes that the victory will help quell the negativity surrounding the club after a series of poor performances and believes they can build on it against Atletico.

“We have to find our game, the second half against Porto was very good. We have to be more consistent,” said the coach.

“We can’t say we’re in our best moment of the season, (but) we have had some very good minutes.”

“We have to improve our performances, and with that, good results will follow,” Xavi emphasized.

Xavi also confirmed that goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was still sidelined due to back pain and would not feature at the weekend.

Champions Barcelona sit in fourth place following last weekend’s draw at Rayo Vallecano, while Atletico Madrid are in third place, level with Barcelona on 31 points.

Simeone acknowledged that his team is still at a disadvantage against the traditional big two—Barcelona and Real Madrid—but they are constantly striving to level the playing field.

“In principle, Barcelona and Madrid start with more chances of winning, but in recent times we’ve closed the gap,” Simeone stated.

“This is about deeds and not words, and we will keep working to keep closing the gap,” he concluded.