Barcelona boss Xavi hails 'extraordinary' Andreas Christensen and hits back at 'substitute' dig

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Ousmane Dembele scored the only goal of the match as Barca picked up a 1-0 win in the Spanish capital.

Despite this, it was the defensive efforts of Christensen which earned most of the plaudits. The league leaders enjoyed a strong opening to the match, though Atletico never threw in the towel and continuously tested Barca's back line, forcing Christensen to make a number of key defensive interventions.

In his post-match press conference, Xavi praised his defenders, saying (as quoted by Barça Universal): "Today we had three defenders that are great coming out with the ball.

"We knew how to suffer and we won three golden points. We're candidates to win the league title. "These three points give us tremendous morale and confidence in what lies ahead." Xavi underlined Christensen's impact since joining the club, saying: "Surely the signing of Christensen has been the less highlighted, but he has been extraordinary." The Barca manager also hit back at past criticism referring to Real Madrid's signing of Antonio Rudiger. He added: "I remember when people said that Real Madrid signed Chelsea's starting centre back and we signed the substitute." During the clash with Atletico, Christensen completed the most passes, made nine recoveries, five clearances and three interceptions. He also won all of his aerial duels and enjoyed a 96% passing accuracy rate. Barcelona will now turn their attention to the Supercopa de Espana as they take on Real Betis in Thursday's semi-final.

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