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Xavi has lavished praise on Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and believes that his enthusiasm and attention to detail have underpinned the team’s impressive displays this season.

Barca are 12 points clear at the top of the league and still going well in Europe and the Copa del Rey and Xavi attributes their fine form to Guardiola’s input.

“Guardiola transmits his passion and is so enthusiastic. If he believes something is white and you think it is black, you will end up believing that it is white,” he told Spanish news agency EFE.

“He is a very intelligent person and I think that that is his secret. It is how he convinces and motivates you and treats the best players in the team.

“I am passionate about him, he has always been my reference. He always says that ‘if you think about the club first then you will not make any mistakes’.

“He is very meticulous, a perfectionist and he sees the game like nobody else. He can tell you two things, a couple of details and he need not say anything more all week.

“We now battle back in games. Like against Racing, for example, last season we would have lost that for sure. But now the team has great professionalism and commitment.

“The work that we do without the ball and the studying of the opposition is necessary because nowadays you cannot just wait and see, because otherwise you will be caught out.

“There is also a lot of injury prevention treatment and the coaching staff are very strict about the diet. We have a physiologist and things are better than ever.”

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