‘It would be damaging for us to play Napoli on neutral turf’: Barcelona boss Quique Setien wants Champions League tie held at the Nou Camp after first leg draw in Naples
- Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli at the Stadio San Paulo in February
- Their second-leg tie at the Nou Camp was postponed due to the coronavirus
- There are talks the rest of the competition could be played out in Portugal
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Barcelona coach Quique Setien has concerns that holding their second leg Champions League tie with Napoli at a neutral ground could be ‘damaging’ to his team.
An Antoine Griezmann goal cancelled out Dries Mertens’ opener as the two sides drew 1-1 at the Stadio San Paulo back in February.
The return leg at the Nou Camp was postponed and is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic – though the plan is for the competition to resume in August.
Quique Setien is concerned about Barcelona playing their second-leg at a neutral ground
However, it is possible that the return leg won’t be at the Nou Camp, with suggestions of a mini-tournament to be played out in Portugal to conclude the competition.
And as reported by Football Italia, Setien spoke about the issue during his pre-match press conference ahead of their LaLiga return on Saturday night against Mallorca.
He said: ‘It would be damaging for us to play Napoli on neutral turf, seeing as we already faced them on their home ground at the San Paolo.
Dries Mertens’ scored in the first leg as Napoli held Barcelona to a draw at the Stadio San Paulo
‘If this is the scenario, then we’d have to accept it. Things are still up in the air, there are various suggestions, so we’ll see what happens.’
Holding the competition in Portugal is aimed at limiting travel and keeping teams to an area that wasn’t as heavily affected by Covid-19.
Setien is hoping to give Barcelona a successful end to their season, and they hold a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga as they resume their campaign against Mallorca.
There is big pressure on Barcelona to succeed in the Champions League, as the five-time winners have not won the competition since 2015.
Barcelona are hoping to overcome Champions League disappointments in recent years
They are also keen to overcome disappointments from the last two years where they have been knocked out from winning positions.
After holding a 4-1 lead against Roma in 2018, they went out on away goals after goals by Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas gave the Italians a 3-0 home win.
A year later they held a 3-0 lead against eventual champions Liverpool in the semi-finals, before Jurgen Klopp’s side made a famous comeback with braces from Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum.