Xavi rates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first start for Barcelona since Arsenal move


FC Barcelona V SSC Napoli - Europa League

Aubameyang started against Napoli on Thursday night (Picture: Getty)

Xavi has praised Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s intensity following his first start in a Barcelona shirt since arriving at the Camp Nou from Arsenal.

After appearances off the bench against Atletico Madrid and Espanyol, Aubameyang was handed a starting role in the Europa League clash against Napoli on Thursday night.

The Gabon international created his side’s best chance of the opening half, releasing Ferran Torres who blasted a woeful effort wide.

Napoli would take the lead through Piotr Zieliński with Torres redeeming himself from the penalty spot in the second half with the first leg finishing 1-1.

Assessing Aubameyang’s performance, Xavi admitted the striker still needs time to click with his new teammates but was impressed with his application in a tough European tie.

FC Barcelona v SSC Napoli: Knockout Round Play-Off Leg One - UEFA Europa League

Aubameyang impressed his coach (Picture: Getty)

“Good, very good,’ Xavi said of the former Arsenal captain.

‘Perhaps he struggled a bit to link up with his team-mates. He is a player with a very good physical capacity.

‘He has tried, his pressing was intense, which we have missed.

‘That is what we ask of him and then he will score and create things. He is a great player and he will contribute like Adama [Traore] and Ferran.’

Aubameyang joined Barcelona on deadline day after Arsenal agreed to terminate his contract.

Aubameyang was stripped of the club captaincy in December after his latest disciplinary breach and he didn’t play for the club again before his move to the Camp Nou.

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