The defender believes that the style of play implemented by Xavi is a major factor behind their improved form.
Gerard Pique, a FC Barcelona defender, has described their 4-2 Europa League victory against Napoli on Thursday as “returning to the roots” of what makes the club great.
He has praised Xavi’s possession-based approach for assisting Barcelona in reaching the last 16. Pique was credited with four goals in the game, as Barcelona secured a 5-3 aggregate win.” We played how Barcelona is supposed to play,” he said after the game.
“We had possession and took control of the game. Going back to the origins of this club is what makes us happy.”
Pique’s comments come after a difficult period for the Blaugrana, who have been criticised for their style of play in recent months.
However, with new head coach Quique Setien now in charge, the defender feels that the team is starting to rediscover their identity.”Now we are playing more like a team again,” he said. “The new manager is trying to get us to play this way and it suits us. We are very happy with the victory.”
FC Barcelona will now turn their attention back to La Liga, where they currently sit in second place, four points behind league leaders Real Madrid.
According to FC Barcelona
What exactly has been said? “We went back to the origins to have the ball,” Pique informed reporters when asked why FC Barcelona won. We haven’t done it in a while. Who was to blame? It’s not fair to single anyone out. Decisions were made that were wrong.
Many things have altered since Bayern Munich’s success. There is now a foundation on which the team can feel confident. We’ve done a lot of strengthening in January, and we now have real weapons up front. “
“All that is taking place is a continuous increase in the game, which occasionally translates into good results and at other times not, but the line is rising. I’m completely certain that this development will take us to a strong perch, and we’ll see it in the Europa League.”
It was an all-round great performance from FC Barcelona on Wednesday, as they brushed aside Napoli 3-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie. They were dominant in possession, created plenty of chances and took their opportunities when they came.
Pique singled out Luis Suarez for special praise after the game, insisting that the Uruguayan is one of the best strikers in the world.
“He’s a great player,” Pique said of Suarez. “He scores goals, which is what strikers are meant to do, and he helps the team a lot. He has a great partnership with Neymar and Messi, and it’s very difficult to stop them.
“It is clear that FC Barcelona are back to their best under new manager Luis Enrique, and they will be confident of progressing to the next round of the Europa League. They have plenty of firepower up front, and they will be looking to win the competition for the first time in their history. Napoli will be a tough test, but FC Barcelona should be able to get the job done.
Extending to the macro
Xavi, like he did as a player at Barcelona, has implemented a possession-oriented style of play. On Thursday, his team held 56 percent of the ball against Napoli. The slick, fast-paced attitude is more apparent than it was under Ronald Koeman’s watch, who was dismissed earlier in the season.
Xavi and left back Jordi Alba praised the team’s bravery and said their fighting spirit has helped them achieve positive outcomes. The Blaugrana have had a difficult season, sitting in fourth place in La Liga but not competing in the Champions League.
“It’s a difficult season because of the way things have worked out,” Pique said in an interview with Movistar. “But we’ve always had the chance to win La Liga and we’re in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
“We’ve been through a lot of hard moments, but the key has been the unity in the team. We’ve been united when it’s most important and that’s helped us a lot.”
Pique also said he believed that Xavi, who is in his second spell as Barcelona boss, has brought the side back to their origins.” He’s brought us back to our origins,” Pique said. “He knows how FC Barcelona play and the demands that are made of us.
“He’s someone who knows us very well and we’re very happy with him.”
Features in the match
The Dutchman scored his fourth goal of the campaign in spectacular fashion during the Europa League match against Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Thursday night. De Jong fired a stunning 25-yard shot to give FC Barcelona a 2-0 lead over Napoli on Thursday evening.
Barca wasted little time in seizing control of the second leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie against Napoli at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, with Jordi Alba scoring after just eight minutes. De Jong made it 2-0 for Barca just seven seconds later, driving towards the area from midfield and curling an unstoppable shot
The goal was the Dutchman’s fourth of the season and it capped off an excellent individual performance from the 21-year-old, who has been one of Barca’s most impressive players in recent weeks. He now looks set to be a key player for the Catalan side as they continue their pursuit of silverware on all fronts this season .
The win over Napoli was also a good warm-up for FC Barcelona ahead of their huge Champions League clash against Manchester City next week. Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to overturn a first-leg deficit when they travel to the Camp Nou next Wednesday, and De Jong will be hoping to play a key role in helping his team reach the semi-finals of Europe’s top club competition.
In conclusion, De Jong’s stunning goal against Napoli was a clear statement of intent from the FC Barcelona midfielder. He has shown in recent weeks that he is capable of performing at a very high level, and he will be hoping to continue his good form in the coming weeks. With Champions League and La Liga titles both within reach, De Jong is undoubtedly one of the hottest properties in world football at the moment.