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Barcelona boss Xavi heaps praise on side as defender sees improvement

Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez was happy with the signs of improvements shown by his side in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Sevilla.

Blaugrana sit two points off the Champions League places after the result at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. They are still 15 points off league leaders Real Madrid is delighand ten points behind second-placed SevillaThe hosts took a first half lead through Papu Gomez from a set-piece.

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Barca hit back just before half-time as Ronald Araujo finished Ousmane Dembele’s corner. They played the final 25 minutes against ten men after Jules Kounde was sent off.

Speaking to Marca, Xavi said: “It’s a bittersweet sensation. I think we performed well, but obviously we have to improve.

“We’ve earned a point, but we have to be patient. We have to insist on this model – we’re on the right track. But it’s a shame because we had them.

“It’s difficult to take, not winning. It’s going to be hard for me to sleep. I think we should have won. Sevilla are very experienced and very good tactically, but I leave here unsatisfied.

“Tomorrow I’ll look back and think we played well. The performance, from the bench, I think was very good.

“I think this is the Barcelona people want. The results tell all, but I think we enjoyed some good moments and the team competed very well.”

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Ronald Araujo happy with finish 

After his goal sealed a point in a 1-1 draw at Sevilla in La Liga on Tuesday, right back Ronald Araujo was satisfied with his side’s end to 2021.

“It’s a step forward,” Araujo said. “We played a great game against a great rival at their ground. We were superior, especially in the second half. They deserved their goal, they did very well.

“It’s a shame because we wanted to win. We’re working a lot on our penetration in the final third. Ferran [Jutgla] is a great help. We need to score more goals and we’re working toward that.

“We’d practiced the set-piece as we knew they’d be standing still in the box. 

“The first half of the season hasn’t been good, but we’ve finished close [to the top four] which is our goal.”

Since Xavi’s appointment as coach in November, there has been an improvement in performances and results. The former midfielder has overseen three wins, two draws and one defeat in six La Liga matches.

Tuesday’s draw in Sevilla signals the start of an 11-day mini-break for Barcelona. Xavi will hope it allows some of his injured players to recover. Memphis Depay, Pedri and Ansu Fati all missed the last match.

Barca’s next match is a trip to 14th placed Mallorca on the second of January.

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