Ahead of their final game of 2021, a Tuesday evening visit to current second-place team Sevilla, Barcelona head coach Xavi clarified the situation Sergiño Dest’s health situation and recent lack of playing time in his pre-game comments.
After spending most of the season as a regular starter prior to Xavi’s arrival at the club, the American defender has seen a significant downturn in his playing time in the seven games with the former Barcelona legend in charge.
Despite completely missing two game credited to injury, with indication that he was left on the bench at least one more time due to health reasons, he has nevertheless only started two games under the new manager, and has played less than two full games worth of minutes in this span of time.
This has inevitably led to a swirl of rumors in tabloids that the American is an unwanted man in Xavi’s setup, and that he will be cast off with several other personae non gratae during the winter window, along with a handful other more outlandish suggestions.
However, as he addressed the press ahead of their final game of 2021, Xavi appeared to set the record straight, and attributed Dest’s recent lack of field time, even when available, solely to his recent injury problems.
“His problem is physical, otherwise we would have used him more,” the coach states. “He has had severe lower back pain, [now] his adductors have been strained and he tells us he is not comfortable.”
Perhaps addressing the recent rumors without explicitly calling them out, Xavi continued, “It’s not a mental or football problem, but it’s not right to play him right now. It’s a physical problem, nothing more.”
The coach did not confirm Dest’s final status for Tuesday’s game, however based on his comments, the American will have an extended holiday break before the team returns to action on January 2, 2022 at Mallorca.