Quique Setien recognised in his first appearance as Barcelona coach that the academy is very important to his project. "If the players earn it, they can make the first team," he said. Now it's up to the Barça B players to take on the challenge and prove that La Masia has the talent and is ready to break into the first team.
The first opportunity to exhibit their potential -- and who knows is Setien will be in the stands at the Johan Cruyff Stadium -- comes on Wednesday against Badalona. The game was moved from the weekend due to Badalona's progress in the Copa del Rey. They knocked out Getafe to set up a tie with Granada.
A rocky week at Camp Nou has not affected the B team. Coach Garcia Pimineta, who until the last moment was among the candidates to replace Ernesto Valverde, has been planning as normal at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper for the derby game. He has called on U19 players Nils Mortimer and Antonio Jesus to help out, with Carles Pérez and Ansu Fati, as usual, along with Iñaki Peña, Araujo and Riqui Puig all training with the first team. The latter three are all likely to be available against Badalona, though.
Pimi not carried away
Reminded of the win over Badalona away from home, Pimienta pointed out they have improved a lot since then due to a change of coach: "They're an intense team under Manolo. It will be a really tough game. I don't think they will suffer because of their efforts in the Copa. The opposite, they will come full of confidence."
Barcelona B: Iñaki Peña; Morer, Mingueza, Araujo, Akieme; Jandro Orellana, Monchu, Riqui Puig; Collado, Hiroki, Abel Ruiz.
Badalona: Morales; Robusté, Pelón, Moyano; Robert Simón, Marc Carbó, Toni Jou, Valentín; Abel Suárez, Cris Montes; Máyor.
Referee: Pinto Herrera (Tenerife). 19.00h.