Xavi Hernandez expects Barcelona star to make the difference against Napoli – “He’ll have a great opportunity”

Barcelona get their Champions League knockout stages campaign underway on Wednesday when they take on Napoli at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in the first leg of their last 16 tie. Both teams enter the match in relatively poor form, with each having massively underperformed over the season so far.

While Barcelona are not playing particularly well at the moment, head coach Xavi Hernandez recognises the match in Naples, and the tie as a whole, as an opportunity to show that his side are capable of competing on the European front, as per MD.

“For us, there’s excitement, hope, motivation to go through to the quarter-finals. I think it’s the biggest competition at club level. It is the ideal and perfect setting to demonstrate what we know. Napoli have changed their coach in a surprising way, but he is a coach who knows the club. It’s not easy for us because we won’t know how the game will turn out with the change of coach.”

Xavi is backing his big hitters to make the difference against Napoli, and especially Robert Lewandowski, who has returned to form in recent weeks.

“For Lewandowski, for Frenkie, for Pedri. It’s a perfect setting to show off your talent, your personality… For me as a coach as well. Robert is a great leader, and he’ll have a great opportunity tomorrow to showcase his talent.”

Barcelona need to ensure that they stay in the tie after Wednesday night’s match, otherwise they would be staring down the barrel of a trophyless season. According to reports, that could cost Xavi his job now, rather than in the summer when he intends to leave.

Tags Barcelona Champions League Napoli Robert Lewandowski Xavi Hernandez
La Liga - Club News