Barcelona manager Quique Setien is not happy with the new format of the Champions League and feels it will not help his side’s chances of lifting the European Cup.
UEFA announced on Friday that the competition will resume in August with a final eight tournament that will take place in Lisbon. Barcelona must first overcome Serie A side Napoli in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
The teams are currently tied at 1-1 after the first leg in Italy. UEFA are yet to confirm if the return leg will be able to go ahead at the Camp Nou as planned, but Setien thinks it should be played at the famous stadium.
“I think it’s worse for us. Not just for Barca, for everyone. With two games you have the chance to turn things around, now there’s more risk. I think we’d all like to play two legs but the circumstances are what they are and that’s what’s been decided. We have to adapt. We have to prepare and make sure we don’t make mistakes.
“The game against Napoli we prefer to play at home. If not it would be giving the advantage to the opposition who have played a game at home in front of their fans.”
Barcelona are scheduled to play Napoli on August 7 or 8. The club is waiting to hear from UEFA as to whether the game will be played at the Camp Nou or a neutral venue in Portugal.
Napoli in Good Shape
Setien’s side has the slight advantage ahead of the second leg having netted an away goal in the first match at the Stadio San Paolo. Dries Mertens opened the scoring for Gennaro Gattuso’s side before Antoine Griezmann levelled it up.
Yet the Italian side look to be in good shape after returning to action following a three-month break because of coronavirus. They beat Serie A champions Juventus on Wednesday on penalties to lift the Coppa Italia for the first time since 2014.
Busy End to the Season for Barcelona
Barcelona still have a league campaign to finish off before they can let themselves be distracted by the Champions League once again. The Catalan giants are five points clear at the top of La Liga with nine games left, although Real Madrid do have a game in hand.
Setien’s side will be favorites to retain their title but do still have some tricky fixtures to negotiate between now and the end of the season, starting with Friday’s trip to third-placed Sevilla.
The Catalans also still have to play Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, and local rivals Espanyol before they wrap their campaign up at home to Alaves on July 19.