Barcelona favour English opponents in Champions League

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The Independent Online

Barcelona would relish a match against one of the four English clubs that have qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals along with the Primera Liga leaders, coach Pep Guardiola said.

"If you want to win the Champions League you have to play with the best in Europe," the former Barca and Spain midfielder told a news conference after the Catalans overwhelmed Olympique Lyon 5-2 at the Nou Camp.

"So we'll take the challenge. It would be nice to taste success against one of the English sides," he added. "If we have to play one of them it will definitely be a good match."

Barca enjoyed a thrilling return to form at a packed Nou Camp last night, racing to a 4-0 lead thanks to Thierry Henry's quickfire double, a trademark Lionel Messi run and cool finish and a powerful Samuel Eto'o strike.

They are still in with a chance of winning a treble with the Champions League, Primera Liga and King's Cup and have a six-point lead over second-placed Real Madrid in the Spanish league.

The 2006 winners reached the semi-finals of last season's Champions League, losing to eventual winners Manchester United, and Guardiola said the quartet of United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool would all be formidable opponents in the last eight.

"It will be difficult for us but they have to come here to play so I'm sure it will be difficult for them too," he said.

"Whoever our opponents are, we will study them closely and try to pinpoint their weaknesses. Whoever we are drawn against is welcome."

Bayern Munich, Porto and Barca's Spanish rivals Villarreal are also in the quarter-final draw on 20 March.

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