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In old Napoli, a Barcelona performance that’s amore!

Super showing from the visitors

SSC Napoli v FC Barcelona: Knockout Round Play-Offs Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

Barcelona will have had every team left in the Europa League sitting up and taking notice after Thursday night’s performance at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Progress is very definitely being made by Xavi and everything came together perfectly against Napoli.

Forget the pretty passing carousels for which the Blaugranes have become known, though they were a visual feast nonetheless.

It was the relentless nature of the pressing that was the singular most decisive part of the 90 minuets.

The harrying and hunting down of the opposition in packs was straight out of the Guardiola playbook and the Serie A giants didn’t know what had hit them.

SSC Napoli v FC Barcelona: Knockout Round Play-Offs Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

That’s how you win football matches, and coming so soon after the Valencia victory, it has given Xavi a huge platform from which to build.

The coach deserves huge credit for his tactics on the night.

Brave, forward-thinking and risky they may have been - there aren’t many teams that can take the game to Napoli at home and come out so on top - but sometimes risk brings reward, and Barca are getting their dues.

There are still some decent sides left in the competition, and both Betis and Sevilla will provide the sternest of opposition if Barca do end up coming up against their La Liga brethren.

However, if this last seven days has taught the club and its supporters anything, it’s that Barca are very definitely on the way back and they should fear no one.

Special mention for Busi who once again showed the world that simplicity is genius.

Napoli v FC Barcelona - UEFA Europa League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Nothing fancy from the captain, but a performance of masterful quality before he was replaced.

Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique also led by example, but every player worked his socks off and deserved to end the game on the winning side.

Momentum has been mentioned before in this column, and I make no apology for doing so again. It’s with the Blaugranes, and that’s a great feeling to have approaching the business end of the season.

Confidence is high, players are purposeful in their work, and Xavi is perfectly conducting the orchestra, only this time it’s from the dugout rather than the midfield.

If the team can continue at this level, then don’t rule out silverware as well as a finish in the Champions League places by the end of the 2021/22 campaign.

It would be the least some of these players deserve after the worst period in club history.

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