Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has lauded Ferran Torres after his promising early run with the club.

Torres has opened up his account with Barca on a keen note, as he has recorded five goal contributions in the second half of the season, which include an assist in Barca’s Europa League playoff second leg win over Napoli. He has also chipped in for a pair of assists in La Liga play, although he has not yet registered a goal in his return to Spain’s top flight.

Overall, as he noted during his pre-match press conference ahead of Barca’s upcoming league fixture against Athletic Bilbao, Xavi has been much impressed with the Spanish forward.

“He’s spectacular, he’s incredible,” Xavi said.

Xavi did go on to admit that Torres has caught his attention in a notable way

“The work he provides and how he works for the team, how he associates with his teammates,” Xavi said. “We are talking about a player of top level, perhaps he’s the one who has surprised me the most. I liked him before, he’s a fantastic signing. Of course, we want goals from him. But I can tell you he’s a marvelous football player.”

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Barca has churned out encouraging results in all competitions as of late, which include its 4-2 wins against Napoli in the Europa League knockout stage and also against Atletico Madrid in La Liga play. The Catalan side has been much acclaimed for creating pivotal goal-scoring chances from quick transition sequences, while the likes of new signings Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been influential in the team’s attack.

While Barca has continued to exhibit notable growth, Xavi sees that the job is far from done for his side. The Spanish manager well recognizes that there are still areas for improvement within his squad, although he is much pleased with the group’s development as well.

“We have to improve,” Xavi said. “We still lose unnecessary balls. We should be ashamed of losing the ball. We have to improve our strategy … but it’s clear that there has been improvement since I took over the team. We are not at a very high level. There is a lot of room for improvement.

“I live this moment with great enthusiasm. The people who stop me in the street are excited. We have to keep working with the same effort. The only thing that counts here is winning. If we don’t win, we want the fans to feel proud because their team gives everything. Tomorrow we need the fans to be with us.”

Barcelona is entering a vital stage in its campaign, especially as the race for the top-four spots in the La Liga table is now becoming much more riveting. As it stands, Barca holds fourth place in the league standings and is a mere five points above Athletic Bilbao in the table, as the Basque-based side currently sits in the eighth spot.

Barcelona will have multiple key fixtures upcoming in its schedule, from its Europa League round of 16 clash with Galatasaray to its showdown with Real Madrid in league play next month. Barca sure has plenty to play for this season, as it has its sights set on finishing in the top-four of the league table and also aims to avoid a trophyless season by winning the Europa League.