Barca may need youth to get past Napoli, reach CL final 8

Barcelona trainer Quique Setién says that he’s able to rely on kids Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig to get rid of Napoli and advance to the Champions League ultimate 8 in Portugal

BARCELONA, Spain —
Barcelona trainer Quique Setién says that he’s able to rely on kids Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig to get rid of Napoli and advance to the Champions League ultimate 8 in Portugal.

Barcelona will probably be with out midfielders Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal and Arthur for Saturday’s 2d leg in their round-of-16 tie. The fit will probably be performed 5 months after the Spanish facet earned a 1-1 draw at Napoli sooner than the pandemic introduced maximum sports activities to a halt.

“Each Rique and Ansu are able to play,” Setién mentioned Friday. “They’ve carried out and performed beautiful smartly and may just completely smartly get started (in opposition to Napoli). And in the event that they do get started, I’m certain they are going to be assured to play smartly.”

The 20-year-old Puig has a superb opportunity to earn his debut in Europe’s top-tier membership festival with each Busquets and Vidal suspended for the crucial fit. Arthur has had a falling out with the membership after securing his switch to Juventus for subsequent season and refusing to go back to workforce apply.

Setién values Puig’s passing and ball-control talents, which remind some Barcelona lovers of Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, and rewarded him with a larger function all through the general stretch of the Spanish league.

Fati, 17, made an enormous splash this season by means of turning 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 just get picked over fellow ahead Antoine Griezmann, who was once cleared to play by means of workforce docs on Friday after having recovered from a proper thigh harm final month.

Clement Lenglet was once additionally cleared by means of workforce docs and can most likely play with Gerard Pique within the heart of the protection with Samuel Umtiti nonetheless injured.

With best 13 first-team gamers to be had, Setién has referred to as up seven participants of Barcelona’s adolescence squad, together with American Konrad de los angeles Fuente.

“It might were higher to have all our gamers to be had, however that isn’t the case,” Setién mentioned. “We’re going to must depend on many gamers from our adolescence workforce. We need to adapt and we will be able to do our very best to not omit the gamers who can’t be with us.”

The fit at Camp Nou will probably be performed with out spectators because of native well being rules. Barcelona and massive spaces of northeast Spain are seeing a contemporary spike in instances of the virus that reasons COVID-19, however well being officers have confident UEFA that the sport is secure to play. in spite of the considerations of Napoli.

Setién mentioned that he’s assured that holding his task does no longer hinge on qualifying for the ¨bubble¨ Champions League match to be performed in Lisbon later this month. Setién has been below intense force since Barcelona misplaced the Spanish league to Actual Madrid final month, when Messi referred to as his workforce ¨susceptible¨ and mentioned that until the workforce became issues round it will lose to Napoli.

“In no second have I assumed that the next day’s recreation may well be my final,” Setién mentioned. “We’re enthusiastic about advancing and enjoying the remainder of the contest in Portugal with the similar sense of pleasure that we really feel now.”

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Extra AP football https://apnews.com/Football and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities

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