January 18, 2021

Barca might have youth to get previous Napoli, attain CL last 8 – soccer



Barcelona coach Quique Setién says that he’s able to depend on kids Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig to eradicate Napoli and advance to the Champions League last eight in Portugal.

Barcelona might be with out midfielders Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal and Arthur for Saturday’s second leg of their round-of-16 tie. The match might be performed 5 months after the Spanish facet earned a 1-1 draw at Napoli earlier than the pandemic introduced most sports activities to a halt.

“Each Rique and Ansu are able to play,” Setién mentioned Friday.

“They’ve carried out and performed fairly nicely and will completely nicely begin (towards Napoli). And in the event that they do begin, I’m positive they are going to be assured to play nicely.”

The 20-year-old Puig has an excellent probability to earn his debut in Europe’s top-tier membership competitors with each Busquets and Vidal suspended for the vital match. Arthur has had a falling out with the membership after securing his switch to Juventus for subsequent season and refusing to return to group apply.

Setién values Puig’s passing and ball-control abilities, which remind some Barcelona followers of Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, and rewarded him with a much bigger position in the course of the last stretch of the Spanish league.

Fati, 17, made an enormous splash this season by changing into the youngest participant to attain within the Spanish league and the Champions League, amongst different precocious scoring milestones.

With Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez set to start out in assault, Fati may get picked over fellow ahead Antoine Griezmann, who was cleared to play by group medical doctors on Friday after having recovered from a proper thigh damage final month.

Clement Lenglet was additionally cleared by group medical doctors and can possible play with Gerard Pique within the heart of the protection with Samuel Umtiti nonetheless injured.

With solely 13 first-team gamers out there, Setién has known as up seven members of Barcelona’s youth squad, together with American Konrad de la Fuente.

“It could have been higher to have all our gamers out there, however that’s not the case,” Setién mentioned.

“We’re going to should depend on many gamers from our youth group. Now we have to adapt and we’ll do our greatest to not miss the gamers who can’t be with us.”

The match at Camp Nou might be performed with out spectators as a consequence of native well being laws. Barcelona and huge areas of northeast Spain are seeing a current spike in instances of the virus that causes Covid-19, however well being officers have assured UEFA that the sport is protected to play. regardless of the considerations of Napoli.

Setién mentioned that he’s assured that retaining his job doesn’t hinge on qualifying for the ¨bubble¨ Champions League event to be performed in Lisbon later this month. Setién has been beneath intense stress since Barcelona misplaced the Spanish league to Actual Madrid final month, when Messi known as his group ¨weak¨ and mentioned that except the group turned issues round it might lose to Napoli.

“In no second have I believed that tomorrow’s recreation might be my final,” Setién mentioned.

“We’re targeted on advancing and enjoying the remainder of the competitors in Portugal with the identical sense of pleasure that we really feel now.”