The full-back has struggled with form as of late, but he put in a fine display as the Catalans romped to victory

Barcelona coach Xavi had nothing but praise for Sergino Dest after the full-back put in a solid performance during the sides 4-1 drubbing of Valencia on Sunday.

The Catalans bounced back from their midweek Europa League draw with Napoli by running riot at Mestalla, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting a hat-trick on his first Liga start to open his Blaugrana account.

There were plenty of bright spots across the pitch for the visitors, with Dest and Pedri in particular catching Xavis eye.

“Sergino Dest is at a spectacularly good level,” the coach beamed after the final whistle when asked about the USMNT international, who has often struggled to reproduce his best from since moving to Camp Nou from Ajax in 2020.

“When we arrived here he was not doing so well, and now he is great both off the ball and on the ball.”

Xavi also had warm words for Pedri, who stood out once more with what appeared to be a sublime goal from outside the area to put Barca 4-1 after just over an hour.

That goal, unfortunately for Pedri, was given to Aubameyang, but the midfielder was still impressive in his managers eyes.

“He gives us a pause, he doesnt lose the ball, he has to stand out, like he did today,” he added.

“He is superlative, in terms of talent there is nobody else in the world like Pedri. And hes only 19.

“We have asked him to take his shots, we demanded it. He has a good shot, he takes good free-kicks and he is very young and shy, but not just anybody has the ability that he has.”

Aubameyang too received praise from his new coach, who stated: “He has scored goals his entire career, it was to be expected that he would be scoring here soon too.

“He moves into space very well, hes mature, very intelligent, Im delighted with him. Those two goals will do him a world of good.”

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