Written by Dare Solomon
The Napoli-Barcelona clash provides football fans with the feel of a Champions League game on a Thursday night and the two coaches are not willing to in any way drop the bar as the expectations of qualification to the next round of the Europa League continue to put pressure on the team.
Ferran Torres’ effort from the spot cancelled Piotr Zielinski’s goal last week to earn Barcelona a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou. Now the return leg can’t be more interesting as either team must win outrightly to progress to the round of 16 after the removal of the away goal rule by UEFA.
To see this happen Napoli coach will not be holding the back in his selection with Victor Osimhen and Lorenzo Insigne ready for optimal use by coach Luciano Spalletti.
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“It is clear that this is a very difficult match. Right from the start we have to show our intentions, because we certainly want to be protagonists of the match. Those who fight can lose, but those who don’t fight have already lost.
“The challenge against Barcelona must be seen as a sporting battle in which whoever shoots first can hit the opponent and whoever suffers can fall. So it will be an open duel that we must try to command”
” Insigne will play from the start, he has recovered and has the quality of directing the match. Osimhen is better too and the fury he has put in entering Cagliari speaks volumes about his determination and hunger to do well.”
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez expects Napoli to play high pressing football but believes the Spanish side will impose their game on the night.
“Napoli will have the stadium on their side, an important fan base, we have to follow with our system, with our style.
“They will press high, we want to play in their half of the pitch. They will be a physical team, there will be confrontations for the ball. Napoli are at the level of the Champions League, in fact they are fighting for the Scudetto, so we will have to keep the ball.” Xavi said to Footballitalia.
The Barcelona coach spoke about how disappointing it would be to drop out of European competition with a loss tonight.
“Definitely it would be hugely disappointing, it’s a European competition anyway. We want to show that we can compete. We did well in the first leg, now we’re playing here.
“We will have to keep possession of the ball and press, that’s how you create chances. It’s another chance to prove our worth.”
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