FC Barcelona's season all depends on the match against Napoli at the Camp Nou. Behind closed doors and in the middle of the summer, the only chance Barça have to claim silverware this season is in the Champions League. The Spanish Super Cup, Copa del Rey and LaLiga have all slipped through their grasp.
Real Madrid's exit last night against Manchester City (2-1) eases the pressure a little but Barça must focus on building on from the 1-1 draw in the first leg. However, should Barça suffer the same fate as Madrid, then this season would be a disaster. A major disaster. Barça haven't endured a trophyless season since 2007/08 under Frank Rijkaard.
For Setien and Barça, Napoli is an authentic "all or nothing" match. This is their moment of truth.
Success at the Camp Nou would then open the door to continuing the Champions League campaign in Lisbon. Three more victories (quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final) would be needed to recapture European glory. There is no margin for error and no second chances.
even more difficult
Barça face Napoli with a significant amount of first-team players unavailable. Busquets and Vidal are suspended, Dembele and Umtiti are still not ready to return from injury, Arthur has gone AWOL and Braithwaite isn't eligible.
It's because of this that Barça have been forced to call up nine players from the youth sides to fill out the 22-man squad. Three of those - Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati and Ronald Araujo - have significant experience in the first team setup though. Yet Setien is expected to turn to his more experienced members of the squad against Napoli and will be backing them to make the difference.
THE CAPTAIN'S WORDS
After Barça's 2-1 loss against Osasuna, Messi said: "If we want to compete in the Champions League we need to change a lot. If we don't, we'll lose the match against Napoli as well. We need a bit of fresh air, to clearn our minds and forget about what's happened from January until now. In the Champions League we are four matches away from winning the trophy we all want."
At 9pm this evening, the team has the chance to prove themselves again like they did with the 5-0 victory over Alaves on the final day of the season. They need to show they are desperate to win and that, whilst a bit older, they're still the players who can make the difference in the biggest matches.
For Barça, they must treat the Napoli game as a one-off. The result in the first leg doesn't matter. They simply must go out to win.
Napoli, like Barça, are also on their second manager of the season. Carlo Ancelotti was replaced by Gennaro Gattuso in December after a run of poor results. Whilst the former midfield general has solidified the team, they weren't able to finish any higher than 7th in Serie A. They did, however, beat Juventus on penalties in the Italian Cup.
Lorenzo Insigne remains a major doubt for the match tonight but he was, as expected, named in the travelling squad. With Napoli on the verge of making history, it's worth taking the risk on his fitness should they need it.