Barcelona coach Xavi: Why we’re not Europa League favourites

February 17, 2022
Barcelona coach Xavi says their Europa League playoff with Napoli belongs in the Champions League.

The first-leg will be held tonight.

“Criticism is normal in a team like Barcelona, they helped me improve as a footballer,” Xavi said at a press conference.

“We don’t have a fixed line-up. Every player is useful, everyone has been playing consistently—almost everyone. Eric and Busquets are two crucial players, but tomorrow could be a good day to rest Busquets, or maybe on Sunday. It’s evident that he can’t play every game. We’ll make changes, but we’ll try to be competitive.

“We have many options up front and it’s very good for me as a coach.

Napoli are at a Champions League level, this fixture could have been played in the Champions, they are an excellent team. They are without important players such as Matteo Politano and Hirving Lozano who is a great footballer.”

Xavi also said, “I wouldn’t say that we are favourite.

“We’ll face a tough opponent and Sevilla have much more experience than us in the competition. We are among the candidates, but not the favourites.

May be an image of text that says ' FIXTURES 17.02.2022 2.38 ZENIT ST. 1.99 vS REAL BETIS BARCELONA 1.42 vs 3.15 B. DORTMUND SSC NAPOLI vs 3.97 4.02 FC SHERIFF RANGERS 1.53 8.30 ATLANTA vs SPORTING BRAGA 2.06 vs FC PORTO OLYMPIACOS vs 2.16 1.93 1.44 6.73 RB LEIPZIG LAZIO ROMA vs 3.56 R. SOCIEDAD SEVILLA 4.24 vS DINAMO ZAGREB 8.50 BetNow Bet Now'
Today’s #UEL Fixtures On with Mouth-watering Odds.
🏟 Barcelona – Napoli
🏟 Dortmund – Rangers
🏟 Sheriff Tiraspol – Braga
🏟 Zenit – Betis
🏟 Atalanta – Olympiacos
🏟 FC Porto – Lazio
🏟 Leipzig – Real Sociedad
🏟 Sevilla – D. Zagreb

Barcelona coach Xavi was happy with Ousmane Dembele‘s performance for their draw at Espanyol on Sunday.

While disappointed with the result, Xavi was pleased with Dembele.

Xavi said, “He helped us a lot, he made a good entry, fast, vertical, good in one-on-one… That’s what we ask of him.

“He is a player like the others committed to the cause, to achieve our objectives this season.”

Xavi has made it clear he will continue selecting Dembele, despite his contract stand-off with management.

Napoli are interested in Barcelona striker Memphis Depay. says Depay is being eyed up to step in for Lorenzo Insigne as he leaves for Toronto FC in June.

The report adds that there is unlikely to be an issue with the two clubs agreeing a deal, but it will come down to whether Depay is willing to take a pay cut as his currently salary is ‘abundantly out of the parameters’ of the Serie A side.

It emerged earlier this week that Barcelona will reportedly be ready to sell the Dutch forward this summer just a year after he joined from Lyon.

Depay has scored eight goals in 23 appearances in his debut campaign at the Nou Camp, but has played just twice in the last two months due to injury problems.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta admits Spotify are coming on board as a main sponsor.

Laporta confirmed as much on Sunday before the traditional dinner with Espanyol‘s executives ahead of the derby at RCDE Stadium.

“Everything is going well and it will be announced when we sign the contract with Spotify,” Laporta said. “The agreement must be approved at an extraordinary AGM. We think it’s the best option, it links us with music, I hope it finalised as soon as possible.”

On the title race, with Barça 16 points behind Real Madrid but with two games in hand after Los Blancos’ draw at Villarreal, he added: “There’s always Liga (siempre hay Liga). We believe we will get our chance.”