After a real game of two halves against Napoli, it’s hard to get too excited about the upcoming Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.
The one game format certainly puts the cat amongst the pigeons because there’s no margin for error for either side.
How Barca play should largely author who goes through between the Bavarians and ourselves.
In a rip-roaring first half, despite being quite slow out of the blocks, we showed that on our day we can still live with anyone.
Napoli are a dogged and difficult side to play against and to take them apart so comprehensively in that opening 45 deserves to be recognised.
A pathetic VAR decision may have come back to haunt us, as may Insigne’s penalty.
As it happened, an unusual backs-against-the-wall last quarter hour saw us grind out the win, but the performance in the second half was in stark contrast to what was served up before half-time.
Quique Setien certainly didn’t help himself again, making the most bizarre of substitutions, whilst being nothing more than a timid presence on the sidelines.
Compare his demeanour with that of Gennaro Gattuso.
The Italian provided the kind of passion that is needed to inspire and, where necessary, to pop a few egos and kick butt. Against Bayern, standing still and mute on the touchline won’t cut it.
The team will win the tie despite Setien not because of him at this rate.
Robert Lewandowski is clearly the danger man for the Bavarians, but in truth, they have quality throughout the team.
Winning 23 of their last 24 games in all competitions, drawing the other, and conceding just 17 goals in the process, hints at the task that Messrs. Messi, Suarez and Griezmann will have in front of them.
They’re quite capable of taking the game to their opponents of course, and with the greatest respect, Hansi Flick’s side don’t often face a front three of the calibre of Barca’s superstar trio.
However, alongside Lewandowski, the Catalans have to also keep the likes of Gnabry, Perisic, Thiago and Muller at bay.
Not to mention the raiding down the flanks from Davies and Kimmich.
If Setien can get his tactics absolutely spot on, then we have a chance of progressing further in the competition.
Failure to do so will mean almost certain elimination, and against a team that have won all eight of their Champions League ties this season, it could get embarrassing.
Here’s to fighting the good fight...