No fear for Manuel Pellegrini as Manchester City draw Champions League battle with Barcelona
Pellegrini does not believe facing Barcelona is the fearsome prospect it once was
Monday 16 December 2013
Despite being matched with Catalan giants Barcelona in the draw for the Champions League knockout stages, Manchester City are remaining confident.
It was one of several exciting looking ties thrown up by a draw that also gave Arsenal the tricky prospect of defending champions Bayern Munich.
The other two English clubs in the competition, Chelsea and Manchester United, got off lightly by comparison with games against Galatasaray and Olympiakos respectively - a reminder of the importance of finishing first in the group stage.
City in particular may rue the apparent mathematical error made by boss Manuel Pellegrini who apparently failed to realise that one more goal against Bayern in the group stages would have seen his team through as a seeded team.
However the consolation for the Manchester side is that they are the one team Barcelona had been keen to avoid in the draw with local sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo leading with a front page that read "El City, No!"
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini however was remaining calm about the prospect of his side's knockout tie.
"I think they will be very concerned also. Barcelona is not the team it was two years ago," he said.
"I think it is a beautiful game with two very good teams.
"All the 16 teams that play in the last 16 are the best teams of Europe - so Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain for me was exactly the same."
Man City director of football Txiki Begiristain - formerly of Barcelona - said the team was very confident despite their difficult draw.
"I think it will be a great match. Ours is a team with a lot of confidence especially after winning against the champions in Munich - that will give us a lot of confidence. Not just at home but away as well.
"We are showing that we can score in all matches. This is important in the Champions League. We scored in Plzen, in Moscow, in Munich - it should give us confidence to play against a team who have been champions many times.
"Our manager knows perfectly Barcelona because he managed in Spain for a long time. In this sense, we are confident."
Elsewhere Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chaberlain remained upbeat despite his side's difficult draw.
"We managed to get a good result away at Bayern last season so that brings back good memories. If you're going to do well in the competition you've got to beat the best teams," he said.
Meanwhile Galatasaray forward Didier Drogba is relishing a return to Chelsea, the club he helped inspire to European glory two years ago.
"What a draw... I'm the luckiest man in this competition," he said on his official Instagram account. "In both games I'll be playing home! See you in few months."
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