Barcelona have 'returned' says Lionel Messi, following Champions League victory over Manchester City

Questions have been asked of the Catalan side in recent weeks

Lionel Messi hailed under-fire Barcelona as back to their best as they saw off Manchester City to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League and keep alive their hopes of the treble.

Critics had rounded on Barca and their coach Gerardo Martino after the reigning champions suffered three defeats in six Primera Division matches, with the latest - a shock 1-0 reverse at lowly Real Valladolid on Saturday - seeing them fall four points behind arch rivals Real Madrid in the title race.

That loss came four days before Barca's Champions League last-16 second leg against City and would have given the English side increased hope they might be able to overturn their 2-0 deficit from the home leg.

However, there would be no fairytale recovery from City as Barca earned a 2-1 win on the night to progress through to the last eight 4-1 on aggregate.

And Messi, who was on the scoresheet along with Dani Alves - the same scorers as in the first leg, believes his side showed just what they are made of in Wednesday's match.

He said: "We were coming off two very serious setbacks away from home (at Real Sociedad and Valladolid), but more so for the performances than for the results.

"Here we've returned to be the Barcelona that we want, that the fans expect."

Messi also rubbished suggestions Barca's Primera Division title hopes have been sunk by their recent poor form, pointing out there are still 11 games to go - including a clash with leaders Madrid.

"I don't know if the criticism was exaggerated or not. We're the first to be self-critical and we know we haven't done things well, we know when we've done badly," said the Argentina ace, whose side are also through to the Copa del Rey final.

"We lost the opportunity to continue being close to Real Madrid, but the league isn't lost whatsoever. There's a long way to go."

Barca defender Alves echoed those thoughts, saying on his club's official website: "We're very happy to go on to the next round. When things aren't going well it's normal for there to be criticisms.

"Besides the goal I'm happy with how the team played, we always respond. There's only one path to follow. We had a slip, but we're moving forward."

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project