'Barca philosophy is untouchable' - Xavi

The veteran playmaker has hit back at suggestions that their style has changed this season and hailed the club's constant demand for improvement
Barcelona midfielder Xavi has asserted that the club's philosophy is "untouchable" - irrespective of Gerardo Martino's influence on their style of play.

The reigning Liga champions have gone unbeaten since the Argentine coach took over from Tito Vilanova in the summer and, though the Catalans' tactics have been noticeably tweaked to allow for a more direct approach, the Blaugrana's vice-captain dismissed suggestions that they are a different breed of team this season.

"The team's philosophy is untouchable and non-negotiable," Xavi, 33, told reporters on Friday. "That was Martino's message to us on his first day.

"There are no internal debates going on. We know how we’re playing and the ideas are set.

"We have a clear philosophy: to play attractive football, on the attack and achieve our targets. We have never thought of changing our style."

Barca sit top of La Liga and have reached the Champions League knock-out phase with two group games to spare, but Xavi is insistent that they can be even better and is relishing the pressure placed upon the players by their trophy-hungry supporters.

"We know what the demands are," the World Cup winner stated. "We want to recover the excellence of other years, but it’s sometimes hard. But the dynamic is the same and there’s room for improvement.

"What do we need to improve? Sometimes we should be the protagonists more, extend our possession. We have to find our mistakes and correct them.

"We accept the criticism, but our style hasn’t changed. We go out to get the ball in their half, that’s not playing on the counterattack. We try to be the protagonists.

"There are times when we feel really good, playing great football, like in the first half against Milan. But we have to play like that for the full 90 minutes.

"Such big demands are a challenge that we relish."

Barca's next encounter is a visit to Betis on Sunday, with kick-off at 21:00CET.