Barcelona coach Quique Setien praises Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli as ‘one of the best teams in Italy. They are a really difficult team to steal the ball from.’
Although the Partenopei had more possession and twice as many shots on goal, it was the Blaugrana who emerged 3-1 winners on the night, going through to the Champions League quarter-finals 4-2 on aggregate.
“We wanted to make sure we got through and we will play other games with this type of spirit,” said Setien in his post-match interview with El Chiringuito, as reported by Football Espana.
“The team played well and deserved the victory. They caused us problems, but we controlled the game in the first half and then reduced them to a few chances after the break.
“It was not easy. We had to defend with real intelligence, because Napoli are one of the best teams in Italy.”
Gennaro Gattuso revealed he has been friends with Setien for several years, as they share a similar approach to the sport.
“I congratulated him for the extraordinary work he is doing and the evolution his team has undergone. He deserves a lot of credit, as Napoli are getting better every day,” added the Barcelona tactician.
“I am very much an admirer of his. Napoli are a really difficult team to steal the ball from. When they got past our pressing, they had a lot of cross-field passes and that cost us.
“I think we stayed relatively in control, but it was tremendously difficult. Sometimes you have no choice to be defensive, because the opponent forces you back. Once we had the lead, it was Napoli who had to take the most risks.
“We tried to keep the ball, but they are very good at that too, have pace and talent, so you can’t always do what you want. Napoli are not just any old team and we were able to defend well against them, which not everyone does.”
Barcelona will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals next week.
“It’s going to be tough for everyone. They are a great team, but so are we.”
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://www.premiersports.com/subscribenow