Xavi Hernandez has heaped praise on Frenkie de Jong for his recent turnaround in form, with the Dutchman establishing himself as a key player for Barcelona.
Speaking after Barcelona’s UEFA Europa League knockout playoffs win over Napoli, as quoted by Barca Universal, Xavi Hernandez reserved praise for midfielder Frenkie de Jong, whose recent turnaround in form has been pleasant to watch for the former Spanish international.
Xavi Hernandez seems to be taking Barcelona in the right direction after initial hiccups. While the Catalan giants are out of the UEFA Champions League and the Copa del Rey, a top-four finish could be on the cards following months of struggle.
In addition, Barcelona could be one of the favourites to win the UEFA Europa League following their emphatic 4-2 win over Napoli in the knockout playoffs second leg. The win helped the Blaugrana reach the competition’s Round of 16, bringing them closer to their first trophy of the season, although Xavi has been quick to dismiss his team’s tag as the favourites.
There were several positives to derive from Barcelona’s performance against the Serie A giants. Xavi pinpointed Frenkie de Jong as one of them, calling the Dutch midfielder a genius while heaping praise on him for starting to grasp the tactical concepts of his system.
Xavi: "I have seen few players that are as self-critical as Frenkie de Jong is. He demands a lot from himself. At first he did not understand what we want from him. But now he understands that he is the player in our midfield that becomes free. He has improved so much." pic.twitter.com/wwQEWjp9yI
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) February 24, 2022
“Frenkie de Jong played an amazing game,” said Xavi. “He is great. Frenkie is a genius. I’ve come across few players as self-critical as Frenkie de Jong, he’s very demanding, and that makes him better. At first, he didn’t understand what we were asking him to do, but he’s getting better and better, and he’s showing a big improvement.
“Frenkie is grasping a lot of tactical concepts that he did not understand before. He’s learning how the be the free man in the midfield. But he has a lot of qualities, like scoring goals too. He has everything.”
Frenkie de Jong scored a peach of a goal against Napoli, finding the back of the net for the second successive game. Such top-notch performances have helped de Jong establish himself as a key midfielder for Barcelona again, with speculation surrounding his future quickly disappearing as a result.