Barcelona coach Quique Setien insists his side “cannot complain’ after securing an away goal and taking a 1-1 draw against Napoli back to the Nou Camp following the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
Antoine Griezmann hit the crucial equaliser to earn the Catalans an away goal, cancelling out the delightful opener from Dries Mertens.
Midfielder Arturo Vidal picked up two quick yellow cards in the second half for a challenge on Mario Rui before shoving his head into the Napoli defender.
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Sergio Busquets will also miss the second leg next month after accumulating a ban following another yellow card. While Gerard Pique limped off during stoppage time after rolling his ankle, jeopardising his involvement in El Clasico, yet Setienremained upbeat.
“It’s a positive result for us overall,” Setien said. “We controlled most of the game, but we lacked something in the final third against such an organised defence by Napoli.
“After the equaliser, they opened up a little and we were able to hurt them more. They played very well and it was not easy, so a score draw is fine going into the second leg.”
“We will have more options in the second leg, as it is unlikely a team will be able to defend for that long at Camp Nou.
“So we have got to think positive and cannot complain.”
Setien accepts Barcelona must now focus on how they can adapt without two key men out through suspension.
“We will not be able to count on Sergio Busquets or Vidal for the return, but we will find solutions to compensate,” he said.
On Vidal’s sending off, Setien commented: “A yellow card for the foul is one thing, but the second is too much. There are moments of tension that players who experience the game with his temperament can have.”
Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso felt his side had missed an opportunity to give themselves more of a foothold in the tie.
“Barcelona struggled because we were very careful. We did well as a team to play together like this,” he said, as reported by UEFA media.
“I am disappointed because we made one mistake and they made the most of it.
“We suffered tonight, tactically we were almost perfect, but we could have done better and been more clinical.”
Gattuso, though, will take a positive mindset to Spain.
“Our dream at the Camp Nou is to play further up the pitch,” he said.
“It’s not over – it will be difficult, but we’ll go there and try to progress.”
PA also contributed to this report
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