Quique Setien says that Barcelona treats the confrontation with Eibar as a cup final for a series of tough matches
“We treated the game as if it were a final”: Quique Setien says that Barcelona must defeat the struggling Eibar for a series of matches that can make or break the club season
- Barcelona faces six of the 10 best teams of La Liga in their next 10 league matches
- The Catalans are also faced with Napoli two legs in Champions League final-16
- Quique Setien says that new signing Martin Braithwaite will start in the coming weeks
Quique Setien admits that Barcelona treats Saturday’s visit to struggling Eibar as a cup final as they prepare for a difficult series of matches that are likely to make or break their season.
While Barca is expected to finish in 16th place in Eibar without many problems, Setien has warned his players not to take the Basque minnows lightly in the Nou Camp.
That is partly so that Barca does not get upset, but also because he wants his team to have the right mindset and impulse to play a potentially decisive series of matches.
Barcelona boss Quique Setien says his party treats their clash with Eibar like a cup final
Barca faces six of the top 10 in their next 10 games after this weekend’s collision with Eibar
Setien also revealed that Martin Braithwaite is likely to start in their upcoming games
In their next 11 games after this weekend, Barca has to compete against the top 10 sides Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Seville, Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal in LaLiga, and Napoli meet two legs in the Champions League last 16.
Barca has already been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao and behind Real Madrid in the La Liga title race, but Barca knows they can’t afford many slip-ups if they want to close the season with silverware – and Setien is committed to making sure the focus is correct from the start.
He told a press conference prior to the game: “We are focused on this game that we have before we come across the three or four that become important.
“We treated the game as if it were a final and we need the three points.
Setien says his players must defeat Eibar to keep their hopes of winning La Liga on track
“That will not only allow us to continue there, but it will also strengthen us for the coming games.
“We have to do things right, it won’t be an easy game.”
Barca will be injured without Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Jordi Alba, but controversial new £ 15 million signing of Martin Braithwaite has been included in an 18-man team.
The Catalan giants caused a stir this week after receiving a special dispensation to sign the Leganes striker outside the transfer window due to the long-term injuries to Suarez and Dembele.
With a trip to Napoli next Tuesday, Setien could decide to give the Denmark international his debut against Eibar, although it is unlikely that he will begin.
Barca does not currently have many key names, including left back Jordi Alba
Setien said in quotes from AS: “We will certainly see him start in a game. Maybe it’s a little early now.
“He has come here in good shape, but there are concepts and things that must be explained and understood.
“We hope he will help us a lot.”
Setien added his possible line-up this weekend: “It is true that you have to take into account (the Napoli game), but our first priority is to win this game.
“We will not reserve anything that will help us win this game.”
Barca defeated Getafe 2-1 in their last competition meeting and left them one point behind Real Madrid
Eibar is now only three points away from the relegation zone after all the teams among them had won ground last weekend, while their home game against Sociedad was postponed due to poor air quality.
However, they shocked Atletico Madrid just 4 games ago with 2-0 and coach Jose Luis Mendilibar is in an optimistic mood for the trip to the Nou Camp.
He said Thursday: “I am encouraged by yesterday’s training session. We did some exercises and had a game with numerical superiority and I really liked the intensity, and how we defended and attacked.
“That means I’m going to Barcelona with my head high.”