'Back to the origins!' - Pique explains Barcelona's vibrant win over Napoli

Gerard Pique Jordi Alba Barcelona 2021-22Getty Images

Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique has explained the team's 4-2 Europa League win over Napoli on Thursday as going "back to the origins" of what makes the club great.

Specifically, he has hailed Xavi's possession-based tactics as being influential in their success.

Pique was one of four different goalscorers in the match as Barcelona advanced to the last 16 with a 5-3 aggregate edge.

What has been said?

"We went back to the origins, to have the ball," Pique told reporters when asked what led to the Spanish giants' triumph at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. "For a while we stopped doing it. Who was to blame? A little bit of everyone, it's not fair to target anyone. Decisions were made that were not appropriate.

"Many things have changed since Bayern. Now there is a base in which the team feels confident. We have reinforced very well in January, now we have real weapons up front.

"All that is happening is a continuous improvement in the game, which sometimes translates into good results and sometimes not, but the line is ascending. I'm convinced that this trend will take us to a good position and we will see in the Europa League."

The bigger picture

Xavi has implemented the kind of possession-orientated tactics he once used as a player at Barcelona, and on Thursday, his side held 56 per cent of the ball against Napoli.

The slick, fast-paced approach is more pronounced than it was under the watch of Ronald Koeman, who was sacked earlier in the campaign.

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Beyond tactics, Xavi and left-back Jordi Alba have hailed the courage in the team and said their fighting spirit has helped achieve positive results.

Still, it's been a difficult season for the Blaugrana as they're in fourth place in La Liga and not competing in the Champions League.

Further reading

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