Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong has put the breaks on the hype train following their 5-0 demolition of Royal Antwerp in their Champions League debut. While he was satisfied with the match, the Dutch midfield conductor warned that it was not enough to raise expectations.
Manager Xavi Hernandez declared that the performance was the best he had seen since arriving back at the club, and de Jong was content with the match too.
“We’ve started well, I’m happy. We have a very good squad, players with a lot of talent and if we work well and do what we have to do, we can fight for big objectives.”
The centre of attention were new signings Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo. De Jong told Sport exactly what they bring to the side, beginning with Felix.
“He has a lot of quality and talent and he is showing it. I hope he continues like this. He will contribute a lot to us.”
“[Cancelo] is a full-back, but he moves into the middle a lot, in attack he gives us a lot, I hope he can continue like this.”
However when asked whether Barcelona might aim for more than just getting out of the group stage, as Xavi had declared was the goal on Monday, de Jong was quick to dampen down too much enthusiasm.
“It’s only the first game, it’s too early to say anything else.”
Barcelona travel to Porto in their next Champions League clash, where they will face a much more battle-hardened side in Europe. Given their struggles over the past two years, de Jong’s reluctance to go overboard is understandable. As the matches come thick and fast, Xavi will no doubt have to begin rotating in order to keep his side fresh too.