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Xavi hails Diego Simeone as 'a great manager' but admits he 'understand football in a different way'

  /  autty

Barcelona coach Xavi put one over on opposite number Diego Simeone and then admitted: ‘We understand football in a different way, that’s why we don’t see eye to eye.’

Simeone had tried to get under the Barcelona coach’s skin before the game saying: ‘Xavi once said that Atletico’s style was not for big teams. Now he has the opportunity to show the football he wants to.’

The pre-match tactic backfired as Barcelona scored three goals from three chances in a brilliant first half.

A spiky Simeone was asked if he felt Barcelona had dominated any parts of the game and he simply replied ‘no’.

Xavi added: ‘[When I talk about him] it’s not a dig, we see football in different ways; it's not a criticism.

'He's a great coach in the way he wants to play. And they are the reigning champions so this win has a lot of merit.

‘He understands football in another way. There are a thousand different ways to play. They feel comfortable without the ball. When we don’ have it I don’t feel comfortable.’

Xavi also paid tribute to Adama Traore after the Wolves winger, on loan at the Camp Nou until the end of the season, ran riot in the first half. ‘It was a great debut for Adama,’ he said.

‘He’s a pure winger and a great signing. He knows when to take players on and when to pass. And physically he is a beast.’

Adama started the game but Xavi is refusing to ostracize Ousmane Dembele who he named on the bench and who he admitted he wanted to bring on in the second half before the game changed with the sending off of Dani Alves.

‘I want people to stopping whistling Dembele,’ he said of the Frenchman whose name was jeered when announced before kick-off.

‘They whistled him today and that’s it, now I want them to support them. It was my attention to put him on in the second half but the game went a different way.’