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Xavi maintains the Catalan derby against rivals Girona will not define Barcelona’s campaign.

Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick as Barca beat 10-man Valencia on Monday night to move back into second place.

However, with just two points between the sides heading into Saturday’s match at Estadio Municipal de Montilivi, there is little margin for error in the battle for runners-up behind Real Madrid.

“No matter what happens, this match will not be definitive, but for us it is very important,” Barca boss Xavi said at a press conference.

“They have sky-high confidence and it is time to congratulate Girona because they have made history – the season of Michel and his players has been extraordinary.

“We are (both) playing for second place, which gives access to the (Spanish) Super Cup.

“We are in front of a team which has done a lot of merit to be where it is.

“They will be second if they deserve it, for us it is a pride that it is there, but it is also against a direct rival.”

Xavi, who recently announced he would be remaining in charge next season, added: “We have been competing very well for three months. We have improved in many areas.

“If we are competing like we have lately, then this is the way – we can compete with any team.

“Difficult circumstances have meant that we have not been able to compete well at the key moment, but I think we are playing pretty good football, we have improved in defence and in all areas.”

Barca forward Vitor Roque faces a late fitness test after missing training on Friday through illness.

Girona won 4-2 at Barcelona in December but head coach Michel insists his side will once again be the underdogs.

“For our people, tomorrow is a historic match,” Michel told a press conference.

“Barca is the favourite in this match, but we must play a part and minimise as much as possible their potential, which is very great.

“They are a team which has more possession in the league and are therefore very dominant, but we play at home in front of our fans and we will give 200 per cent because that is the only way to win.”

Michel added: “We want to win tomorrow to reach the Champions League. It is about making fans, making Girona grow and achieving worldwide recognition for our club and our project.

“We have to play with the personality we have had all season.

“In this match, the motivation is top for everyone – another challenge is to beat Barca for the first time in Montilivi.”

Girona confirmed Jhon Solis had suffered a tendon injury in his thigh, which is set to rule the midfielder out for the remainder of the campaign.