30.09.2022 18:22 h

Xavi backs deep Barca squad

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez backed his squad to show its quality in the weeks to come, despite being hit by several injuries during the international break.

Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong sustained injuries with their national teams over the past fortnight, with Barcelona to face Real Madrid in La Liga on October 16, as well as crucial Champions League clashes in a tough month ahead.

Araujo is poised to miss up to three months after undergoing surgery on a torn thigh muscle, while the other injuries, all hamstring problems, are less serious.

"It frustrates me, but we have to look forward," Xavi told a press conference.

"Each player is his own world, the reason (for the injuries) has multiple factors, we don't know the main one. The trips, the methodologies (of the national teams), overload of games.

"It's not about looking for people to blame, it's bad luck, but we will take it well. It's the moment to demonstrate we have a great squad."

Barcelona face Real Mallorca on Saturday in La Liga to start a packed October fixture list, with nine games. As well as the Clasico, they visit Inter Milan on October 4, host the Italians on October 12, as well as welcoming Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao and then Bayern Munich on October 26.

Hector Bellerin also suffered an injury while training with Barcelona, leaving the club potentially without any recognised right-backs for the trip to face Mallorca, as Sergi Roberto has not yet been passed fit.

"We'll see how Sergi Roberto is, Marc Casado is an option (from the B team), we could use left backs on the other side, or play with three central defenders, we'll decide after training," added Xavi.

"What I am sure of is that (the injured players) will not return until they are 100 percent fit."

The coach also offered a potential solution to the disruption to the domestic and European calendars by international football.

"The national team could play for a month and a half in a row, and then after that the players spend the rest of the year with their clubs," said Xavi.

"It wouldn't be bad, if FIFA's plan is to have a World Cup every two years."