Barcelona boss Xavi slams 'unfair' Sergi Roberto criticism after win over Cadiz
Xavi saluted Ferran Torres and Sergi Roberto as Barcelona racked up a seventh consecutive LaLiga win to go eight points clear of Real Madrid again.
Head coach Xavi made sweeping changes to his line-up but saw Barcelona grind out a 2-0 win over Cadiz at Camp Nou.
The recalled Sergi Roberto got the opener, after Robert Lewandowski's header was cleared off the line, with Lewandowski then striking the second.
Both goals came in the closing stages of the first half, with Barcelona then doing enough to see out the win over their lowly visitors, albeit riding their luck to keep another clean sheet.
It was their 17th shutout in 22 domestic league games this season, a record number at this stage of a season, with two disallowed goals for Cadiz piling on frustration for the visitors, who Xavi agreed deserved to score.
Torres and Sergi Roberto were among those who came into the team, for a Sunday game falling between midweek Europa League play-off clashes with Manchester United.
Both impressed, Torres on the right of the attack and stalwart Sergi Roberto in midfield.
Xavi said Torres had "taken a step forward to gain confidence" and would be important for the rest of the season if he maintains his level, but his highest compliments were for Sergi Roberto.
"He is a player who can play various positions and he is fantastic," Xavi said of his former team-mate.
The versatile 31-year-old, who has entered the last six months of his contract, has been characterised in some quarters as a player with little to offer this incarnation of Barcelona, but Xavi sees it differently.
"The criticism of him is very unfair," Xavi said. "Of course I want him to renew, for me he offers a guarantee. I see him train and how he gives the performance and he is always criticised. It's one of the most unfair situations I've ever seen in my life."
Xavi said Barcelona were "very good" in the first half, but less so after the break, when goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was kept busy.
"We have given away a lot and I didn't like it. Cadiz deserved a goal and Marc had to make extraordinary saves," Xavi said.
"But the team met its goal and is maintaining its good run of results. I like the dynamic we have, we have kept a clean sheet and we continue to be eight points clear."