(Reuters) – Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez should be given “time and confidence” to succeed at the Catalan club, former captain Carles Puyol said after his ex-team mate began life in his new role with a 1-0 home win over local rivals Espanyol.

Xavi, who played for Barcelona for 17 years and won 25 trophies, was named head coach after the club sacked Ronald Koeman earlier this month.

Given a contract until 2024, the 41-year-old made a winning start on Saturday with a victory over Espanyol that put Barcelona sixth in LaLiga on 20 points after 13 matches.

“I know Xavi very well and I know he has prepared himself very well. I am convinced that he will do very well,” Puyol said.

“He has experienced moments as a player where we had difficult situations. Then we achieved great things with a great team.

“We had not won anything and then we won everything by playing very good football. So he knows exactly what to do, and you have to give him time and confidence.”

Barcelona host Benfica in Tuesday’s Champions League group match before playing at Villarreal for Saturday’s league game.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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