Barcelona coach, Quique Setién has said that he has at no point considered that the Champions League second leg with Napoli could be his final match in charge.
This will be Setién’s first home Champions League match as Barcelona manager. Ten of their last 11 managers have won their first of such match.
- Barca have not been eliminated at the last 16 stage since 2007.
- Barcelona are hosting Napoli for the first time in a competitive match.
- The last team to win their first away Champions League game at Camp Nou was Rubin Kazan in October 2009 (2-1).
- Barcelona have progressed from each of their last 19 Champions League knockout ties after avoiding defeat in the first leg away from home. They only failed to progress once, going out to Juventus in the 2002-03 quarter-final (1-1 first leg, 1-2 second leg).
- Napoli have won just one of their last 10 away Champions League games (D4 L5), winning 3-2 at Red Bull Salzburg in October 2019.
- Napoli is unbeaten in all three away games this season (W1 D2).
- Barcelona’s run of 35 home Champions League games without defeat (W31 D4) is the second-longest in the history of the European Cup/Champions League, behind Bayern Munich’s 43-game run between 1969 and 1991.
Barca had secured an away goal in the first leg of the encounter that ended 1-1. A goalless draw or a single unreplied goal is enough to take Barcelona to the last eight.
“We have prepared thinking me and my coaching staff are going to continue,” Setien said at the press conference.
“At no point has the thought that tomorrow could be my last game passed through my head.”
Will Quique Setién help Barcelona overcome Napoli
Barcelona will be welcoming Napoli that also been struggling for forms like them. Captain Lionel Messi had recently in their last La Liga game against Osasuna criticized the team’s performance. Barca lost the game at the Camp Nou 2-1 against Osasuna.
Although they have not been eliminated at the last 16 stage of the competition since 2007, Barca wants to win their first Champions League title since 2015. This is believed to have led to them sacking Valverde.
With France forward Antoine Griezmann and midfielder Frenkie de Jong back in the squad after being declared fit, Setien said it’s good to have many options. The manager will however be without midfielders Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal, while Messi is a booking away from a suspension.
“Having all the options would have been better. This is not the case and we will have to have many players from the reserve team. The circumstances are what they are. We would all like to be able to count on the players in the squad.”
Gatusso wants to write history
On the other hand, Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso is hoping to guide his lads into the last eight for the first time.
“We certainly want to write an important page in our history. We know if we want to compete against Barcelona we will have to take risks.
“I can mark Messi only in my dreams, or on my son’s PlayStation.”
Messi has been directly involved in 11 goals in his last five home Champions League knockout matches at Camp Nou (8 goals, 3 assists), scoring a brace in four of those five games.
The last time Barca failed to progress beyond the round of 16 was 2006-07 under Frank Rijkaard.
The winner of the round will face whoever qualifies between Bayern Munich and Chelsea.