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Season 2013/14

Fabregas says Barca need perfection

  • 11 March 2014 08:15
  • Posted by @dclayton_mcfc

City’s second leg tie with Barcelona is, understandably, the focus of journalists both home and abroad this morning, as it will be tomorrow.

City’s second leg tie with Barcelona is, understandably, the focus of journalists both home and abroad this morning, as it will be tomorrow.

The Blues begin the game 2-0 down to the Catalans but nobody, it seems, is writing Manuel Pellegrini’s side off just yet.

The general feeling is an early City goal will give the Champions League second leg a completely different complexion – and Barca are well aware of the Blues’ fire power.

Cesc Fabregas is quoted in The National as believing his team need to be at their very best to progress in a report that reads: “Barcelona’s hopes of retaining their La Liga title have taken a huge blow since returning from Manchester as consecutive away defeats to Real Sociedad and Valladolid have left them four points behind Real Madrid.

“And Fabregas insisted they still have plenty of work to do to ensure they reach a seventh straight Champions League quarter-final.

"We cannot let it become an open match, running up and down the whole time because that plays to their strengths,” the former Arsenal captain told Uefa.com

‘We need to control the game by having the ball and creating opportunities, but the most important thing is to finish our attacks so we don’t allow them to play on the counter-attack.

‘I think we need to be almost perfect to ensure we go through to the quarter-finals.'”

Negredo action

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman focuses on what will be an unusual team-talk for City ahead of the game.

He writes: “Manuel Pellegrini will deliver the most important team talk of his season from the Manchester City team hotel on Wednesday night ahead of his teams clash with Barcelona in the Champions League.

“The City manager will be banned from speaking to his players once he gets to Barcelona’s famous stadium as he is serving a two-match touchline ban for comments he made about referee Jonas Eriksson after his team’s 2-0 first leg defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

“The Chilean, therefore, will address his players two hours before kick-off at the team hotel before they leave for the Nou Camp.

“It has also emerged that Pellegrini will risk antagonising UEFA further by refusing to attend the traditional pre-match press conference in Barcelona this evening.
“Concerned that he will face too many questions about his conduct after the first game, Pellegrini has decided to stay away tonight and will instead send assistant Brian Kidd to speak to the media.”

Finally, The Bleacher Report carries an interesting feature on why Barcelona should fear City, despite leading 2-0 from the first leg.

Rob Pollard believes the fact Sergio Aguero is fit again will unnerve the home defence and if the Blues are to pull off one of the most incredible comebacks in Champions League history, Kun will almost certainly have a huge part to play.

Aguero celebration v Newcastle A39O4924

“Barcelona also lost at the weekend, 1-0 away to Valladolid, and they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Real Sociedad in the game immediately following the first leg. It seems there is a vulnerability previously absent that City need to capitalise on if they are to stand any chance,” writes Pollard.

“Sergio Aguero's return to fitness is also key. Barcelona's high line will be dreading his pace in behind, and that uncertainty will help City push them back.

“Twice during his time at Atletico Madrid Aguero scored two goals in impressive wins: a 4-2 win in 2008 and a 4-3 win 2009. In total he managed six goals against them during his time in La Liga. They do not like facing El Kun and the Barcelona backline will have one eye on the Argentinian throughout the match.

“There's no doubt City face a tough task and are unlikely to progress, but there are reasons to be mildly optimistic. Their 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in the group stage earlier this season is evidence that anything can happen in football.

“City went there with a second-string side and beat the best club side in the world; a side who have since gone on a 16-game winning streak in the Bundesliga.

“Sitting back and being conservative won't work. City must attack, and with little expectation and pressure, the shackles should come off. For the neutral, and early goals is an absolute must and, if that happens, the tie is back on.”

Now you should feel a surge or renewed optimism after that…

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