"He should play with even more passion", Xavi defends Gavi's playing style
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has defended Gavi over criticism for his physical playing style.
has started in 12 La Liga matches forBarcelona
. He has fouled opponents 41 times, which is the third-highest tally in La Liga but has only received three yellow cards.
The Spanish midfielder has been accused of being too physical, butXavi
has defended his player.
"That seems silly to me. There is a referee who decides, right? In the end, he is the one who decides,"
Xavi told reporters.
"Gavi puts passion and courage into his game.
"I consider it that the whistle is blown for very few fouls on him. For me, it's the other way around. He's a player who's fouled a lot and the whistle is blown for a few of them."
Xavi also claims that Gavi is being unfairly treated, and he is only praised when plays for Spain.
"It seems to me that when he goes to the [Spanish] national team he is wonderful, and when he plays for Barca, he crosses the line,"
"This is what it seems to me from the outside, yes. He's an example of grit and courage [for Spain] and, when he's at Barca, he is not liked, right?
"Well, it's normal. It is normal. And on top of that, if we win, he is liked even less. It is the way that it is.
"To Gavi, I say be calm, to put in the same passion, or even more, and also more courage and sacrifice... and that he doesn't stop. He doesn't have to slow down."
Barcelona is three points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the league table, and they will face Real Sociedad in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
"It's a key match for us,"
Xavi added at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.
"It's a quarter-final and a one-off match. We're playing in front of 80,000 of our fans.
"We are in good form and they are in a good moment also in terms of results and confidence. I expect we'll see a good game."
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