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Xavi the psychologist

From the moment that Xavi Hernandez took charge at Barcelona at the start of November, he has been on a relentless mission to lift the spirits of his side and make them a team once again.

He has placed a clear emphasis on player psychology, having introduced a range of initiatives to foster a greater team spirit amongst his squad, and according to president Joan Laporta, these methods are already bearing fruit.

"[Xavi] has brought excitement and hope, I see a good atmosphere in the dressing room," said Laporta.

Squad dinner

On Wednesday evening, the Barcelona players and coaches came together for a squad dinner in the centre of Barcelona. It came a week before their make-or-break Champions League trip to Bayern Munich, and initiatives such as these are bound to create a good atmosphere.

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Games during the warm-up

Xavi has made the warm-up period before training sessions as a moment for the players to feel relaxed and have fun. These activation exercises are original and there is a primary focus on collective work.

For example, the players were split into two groups and when the fitness coach called a number, they had to combine to make that number on the floor.

Individual and tailored chats

Xavi has also sought to engage in direct dialogue with his players from the moment that he became coach.

He has made an enormous effort to get to know each player on a personal level, as well as correcting technical or tactical aspects, and this has been highlighted by Martin Braithwaite, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

"I have spoken with [Xavi], he has a clear idea of what he wants to do and what he wants to change," said Braithwaite.

"Now it is about returning as soon as possible, but I am going to have an important role when I return."

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Positive and optimistic discourse

The Barcelona coach knows that there is a long road ahead to restore the club to the summit of LaLiga Santander and European football. Nevertheless, he has maintained a positive attitude since becoming coach and visualises taking Barcelona back to their previous level.

The arrival of Alves

Although Dani Alves is ineligible to feature for Barcelona until January, his impact at the club goes far beyond his contributions on the pitch.

He is a constant source of optimism in the dressing room and his presence is a key factor for Xavi to achieve his objective of making this Barcelona side a team once again.

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