Manchester City vs Barcelona: Nolito thinks City need to beat Barca to avoid shock Champions League exit

Winger believes that City must secure their first win over Pep Guardiola's former side to ensure Borussia Mochengladbach and Celtic surpass them

Charlie Doris
Tuesday 01 November 2016 09:31
Nolito struggled to understand what Guardiola was saying after the match
Nolito struggled to understand what Guardiola was saying after the match

Nolito stresses that Manchester City must put their Nou Camp nightmare behind them and beat Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium tonight if they are to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.

The Spain international was part of the City team that suffered a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Luis Enrique’s side thanks to a Lionel Messi hat-trick and a late strike from Neymar.

Nolito is wary of Barcelona’s threat more than most after joining City from La Liga side Celta Vigo this summer and knows that back-to-back defeats to the Spanish champions could hand Borussia Mochengladbach or Celtic the ascendancy in the race to qualify from Group C.

"If we want to qualify for the next round we need to win this one," Nolito said.

"We have some difficult games left and the first one is Barcelona. We know how strong they are but we are going to try to take some points off them."

Barcelona, however, will be without first choice defenders Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba for the trip to Manchester and Andres Iniesta will also not feature due to a knee injury.

But, taking into account the sheer wealth of talent in their squad, Nolito knows that City would be naïve to think his side are in for an easier ride this time round.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are still are expected to start for the Catalan giants as they aim to secure top spot in Group C with two games to spare.

"Even if they have players missing it is still Barca we are playing against. They have a very strong squad," He added.

"Whatever player plays can make it difficult for you.”

Sergio Aguero was a shock omission from the City side at the Nou Camp two weeks ago but, after ending his six game goalless run with a brace against West Brom on Saturday, Nolito believes that his teammate could be the deciding factor in tonight's contest.

"I think he is one of the best strikers in the world and we are proud to have him in the team," He said.

"We hope he can have one of those days where he scores many goals and hopefully we can win the match."

City manager Pep Guardiola was pleased to see his side end their six game winless run with a 4-0 victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns but realises that they will have to take their form up a couple of notches if they are to pull off a shock result against Barcelona.

"We have to play like a final. It's not a final for them, it is a final for us,” Guardiola said.

"There are just three games left and we dropped two points in Glasgow, so we have to recover those points in the next two games.

"I have never entered a match thinking we can't win but we have to play almost perfectly.

"It's always difficult to win Champions League games and it's always difficult against Barcelona 11 v 11, but when it's 10 v 11 it's almost impossible."

His opposite number and former teammate, Luis Enrique is also not taking the challenge ahead too lightly in spite of his side's demolition job a fortnight ago.

"I think Pep's Man City have a lot of things going for them, they can do many things," Enrique said.

"We know Pep and we know his ideas. We have to be very attentive to what they do because Pep will try to touch the correct key to get the result."

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