When any team reaches the latter stages of the Champions League, it’s accepted that a strong starting XI and substitutes bench is a prerequisite.
Barcelona, once the envy of European football, have been unlucky with injuries this season, with both Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele out for most, if not all, of the rest of the campaign.
Arguably, the pair would be starters for Quique Setien where they available, but their absence, along with the likes of Jordi Alba, have hit the Catalans hard.
Against Napoli during the first half of their Round of 16 tie, the visitors were moribund as an attacking force.
As a manager, looking to your subs at some stage in a game, for them to come on and change things, is often an option, but the lack of experience on Barca’s bench against the Italian side brought Setien’s problems into sharp focus.
La banqueta del Barça… pic.twitter.com/jA1ASt9g0l
— Toni Padilla (@ARAToniPadilla) February 25, 2020
Arthur and Clement Lenglet have had enough experience at the highest level, but Ansu Fati is still only 17 and played just a handful of matches this season.
Neto, the sub keeper, has only played when Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been injured, whilst Ricard Puig and Ronald Araujo, from Barca B, have barely made a dent in the first team.
The final name on the bench, Sergio Akieme, hasn’t played a single minute for the senior side, and for a game of such magnitude, that’s not good enough.