Xavi credited Ousmane Dembele's willingness to take risks after the France winger starred in Barcelona's 4-0 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou.

Barca moved back to within three points of Real Madrid on the LaLiga table by putting Athletic to the sword on Sunday, with Dembele opening the scoring before recording three assists.

By laying on goals for Robert Lewandowski, Sergi Roberto and Ferran Torres, Dembele recorded four goal involvements in a single game for Barca for the first time, in what was his 165th Blaugrana appearance.

Dembele's tally of five assists in LaLiga is the best in the competition this season, and Xavi described the 25-year-old as a difference-maker following Barca's victory.

"He was in the spotlight because he takes risks and it's like a flip of a coin. He was especially motivated," Xavi told Movistar.

"He understood everything well. He's here to make a difference and he's capable of doing these things."

Barca raced into a three-goal lead within 22 minutes as Athletic collapsed, before controlling possession as Pedri repeatedly drifted inside from an unfamiliar left-wing role.

"We thought it was a game of intensity and rhythm, we understood that they were going to put a lot of pressure on us," Xavi said of Barca's approach.

"We put one more midfielder in and we attacked inside. We found the superiority and we matched their intensity, those were the keys. We showed solidarity and it was a complete game."

Barca endured a run of just one win in four matches earlier this month, losing to Clasico rivals Madrid and failing to beat Inter in two Champions League meetings, leading captain Sergio Busquets to emphasise the importance of their response.

"We came from a difficult week after losing against Madrid, but we have remade ourselves with two good games and we continue to fight for the top positions here," Busquets said.

"We came out very strong, because we knew that they are a very intense team and we wanted to match that intensity.

"We had ten minutes of great success in front of goal and that made it easy for us to break up the match."