Xavi backs 'different' Dembele and Pjanic at Barcelona after Juventus draw

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Xavi has shown faith in the "different" Ousmane Dembele and Miralem Pjanic to play important roles for his side, following Barcelona's 2-2 draw with Juventus on Tuesday.

Pjanic made a strong first appearance for the pre-season while Dembele scored a poised brace and performed well despite the result, reflecting the confidence shown in him since Xavi took over as Barcelona's head coach last November.

The 25-year-old's first of the night was a particularly impressive solo action, showing his trademark dexterity on a mazy dribble, wriggling his way past three Juve defenders before finishing from an acute angle.

The Barca boss demanded more consistency from the France international post-match, but is buoyed by both his talent and new-found enthusiasm after extending his contract.

"He has shown what he is capable of, making a difference from the right wing with one-on-two actions," Xavi said afterwards. "He is a different player, special and he gives us a lot.

"He has to make a difference, be more consistent, score more goals. I don't know Dembele from before but since I've arrived, I see him happy and he always tells me that he's involved in the project. I see him like that since November, that's why I insisted so much on to stay."

The 42-year-old also saved special mention for another polarising figure among Barcelona fans, Miralem Pjanic, who made his first appearance for the club upon returning from a loan spell at Besiktas.

When asked about the midfielder's performance, the similarly cerebral Xavi was effusive in his assessment.

"I liked it a lot," Xavi said. "He gives us a lot with the ball, he found the interiors very well. He has an exclusive vision of football in general, because there aren't many who see the game like that with their first touch.

"He always looks forward, looks very well for the pass to nine. He has played a great game."

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