A classic Barcelona performance in the city of Naples was enough to dismiss Napoli from the Europa League. Barca and Diego Maradona‘s former club were two of the favorites in the secondary European club competition however, only one of them could progress past the round of 32. While many could not even believe that Barca was a part of this tournament, they did not expect them to be this dominant against Napoli. The first half in Camp Nou was tough for the Catalans and Ferran Torres missed a host of chances however, in the second half they were a transformed team.
It seems like Xavi Hernandez’s philosophy is finally flowing to the players however, there is still a lot of work to do and there are still positions in the team which are weak. Hernandez is willing to fix the whole team and the state of the club with the help of Joan Laporta, their president, however, this is not a week’s work or even a month’s work. It could take at least a few seasons before Barca plays the way they used to playback in the early 2010s. Xavi knows this and thus dismissed any talks of the Catalans being the favorites to win the tournament. He told BarcaTV+ after the game,
"“I can’t say we are Europa League favourites. We have to continue to work hard in every match. We haven’t achieved anything yet. We have to be humble and careful. This was a very good match against a Champions League level opponent, but we cannot take anything for granted,”Source Barca TV"
He did applaud the players though and did mention that they possibly beat the most difficult team in the tournament. By defeating Napoli, they have successfully eliminated the Italian powerhouse and have made themselves the team to beat.
Xavi says they are not the favorites however, in reality, Barca is expected to win the tournament and if they do not manage to do so, it will be quite a shame.