Barcelona boss Xavi has declared Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Napoli as their most important game of the season.

The two sides shared the first-leg honours in Italy three weeks ago, with Robert Lewandowski’s effort cancelled out by Victor Osimhen for Napoli in the 1-1 draw.

Five-time winners Barcelona have not reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League since the 2019-20 season, and Xavi is in no doubt as to the significance of the round-of-16 second-leg return at Estadi de Montjuic.

“It’s the most important game of the season and we are prepared with enthusiasm,” said Xavi.

“It’s been four years since we’ve been in the quarter-finals and that’s how we approach it.

“We want to compete against an opponent who, even though they’re not in the best moment, has the foundation of being Serie A champion.

“We need a full stadium. The fans have to be loud and turn Montjuic into a pressure cooker.”

Barcelona have been hit by injuries with Pedri (hamstring), Frenkie De Jong (ankle), Ferran Torres (hamstring), Gavi (knee) and Alejandro Balde (hamstring) all sidelined.

But the Catlans extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 1-0 LaLiga win over Mallorca on Friday.

Xavi said: “The youngsters are key. We have to let them enjoy the moment.

“We have some important players out, but we will compete. I am very happy with my players.

“We have to play as a team if we want to be in the Champions League quarter-finals.

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“We were the better side over there and on Tuesday, we have to be the better side here.

“I don’t think Napoli will sit back with the tie as it is. I expect to face a brave Napoli side who will play from the back and try to control possession.”

Napoli trio Amir Rrahmani, Cyril Ngonge and Jens Cajuste remain injury doubts after sitting out the 1-1 Serie A draw with Torino on Friday.

Francesco Calzona’s maiden game as Napoli coach was the first leg and the Italian champions are unbeaten in his five games, with two wins and three draws.

Calzona said: “We will go there with respect for the opponent but without fear. We are Napoli.

“We have started a journey and the team has made an important step forward.

“The boys have shown me great availability from day one from all points of view. There is a great desire to do well and five useful results don’t happen by chance.

“Sometimes we have to concede something, but we have to be more careful about the details. Little by little we will adjust this aspect too.”