Barcelona head coach Quique Setién has admitted that his side still think about their embarrassing 4-0 loss to Liverpool in last season’s Champions League semi-final.
Having stormed to a 3-0 win the first leg, Barcelona were well and truly humbled at Anfield as Jürgen Klopp’s side picked up one of the most memorable European victories of all time.
That came a year after Barcelona met a similar fate in the quarter-final against Roma, who overturned a 4-1 loss to win on away goals. Speaking ahead of his side’s next European test against Napoli (via Marca), Setién confessed that the defeats still weigh on their minds.
“The reality is that we’ve spoken very little about [Roma and Liverpool], although I’m sure they’ll have it in their minds,” Setién said. “Maybe it’s not comparable.
“We’ve experienced incredibly tough games and I think the team is fine. The team is confident that we’ll continue in this dynamic, I trust that we’ll maintain the level that we’ve been giving for some time.”
Barcelona could find it hard to forget that loss to Roma as centre-back Kostas Manolas, who scored the winning goal that night, has since joined Napoli and is set to face La Blaugrana once more on Tuesday.
Alongside Manolas, Barcelona will also come up against midfielder Fabián Ruiz, who has long been linked with the club. Setién, who worked with Fabián at Real Betis, was full of praise for the Spaniard.
“He’s a player that I have a lot of love for,” Setién said. “I know that they love him a lot here and it’s not for nothing. He’s had a spectacular rise.
“I hope that he doesn’t have his best game tomorrow, but I’m happy for him. He’s not just a great footballer, but a really great person.”
The match will be Setién’s first taste of Champions League football, and he confessed he is looking forward to the momentous occasion.
“There’s no doubt that it’s my first match in the Champions League and it’s a motivation,” he added. “It’s exciting for me to start this journey at a stadium like this, which is full of passion and history. I think it’s going to be a passionate game. There’s no better place to start.”