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Pick of the ties
The coach was in no doubt as to the importance of the game: "It's an opportunity. The main objective for the season is to get into the Champions League for next year and there are two ways: finish in the top four in the league or win the Europa League. It is European competition and we need the fans. We are expecting a great tie and we want to go as far as possible."
On their opponents in the tie, Italian club Napoli, Xavi had this to say: "In the Europa League I don't see us as favourites but as candidates but we have had a very tough draw. Napoli are a top side and it could easily be a Champions League tie. As well, we have to play the second leg away from home. They can dominated game and are tough opponents."
"We will try to be at our best and we want to show that we are capable of competing in Europe. It's a great chance to keep improving and developing."
Asked about his first 100 days in charge at Barça, Xavi was not afraid to lighten the mood. "100 days have seemed like 100 years," joked the coach before adding: "We have been in some unexpected situations, Covid, the winter transfer market...I am a big Barça fan and I want Barça to be back where it belongs."
With several players missing in defence, Xavi outlined the importance of Èric Garcia: "He knows he made a mistake that led to us conceding [against Espanyol] and it's on his mind. However, he is a top quality centre back and he will be important in the coming matches. He needs to get back to the level he was at before his injury."
Another name that came up in the press conference was recent signing Adama. "He is bringing a lot for us. He is a mature player who makes good decision, he can beat players and attract defenders. He is capable of breaking open games and that will help us a lot."
Another new signing, Aubameyang, is now at "100%" according to the Barça coach who also said he is very happy with the Gabon international since his arrival and that the striker will start to figure more in the coming matches.
Finally, Xavi also had words of praise for the man who salvaged a point for Barça in the derby against Espanyol, Luuk de Jong: "Seeing his commitment and attitude there is no doubt he is a great professional. He will help us, he is a striker capable of holding the ball up and he is always ready for when we need him."
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