Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Barca Are Not the Team They Were ; City Boss Pellegrini Has No Fear of Facing Messi and Co.next Year

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Barca Are Not the Team They Were ; City Boss Pellegrini Has No Fear of Facing Messi and Co.next Year

Article excerpt

IN MANager Spain.

"They know Manchester Man-ARCELONA Bare not the fearsome force they were, and will find it "difficult" when they meet Manchester City in the Champions League last next year.

Those were the bold words of Blues boss Manuel Pellegrini after the two clubs got the draw that neither wanted in Switzerland yesterday.

Lionel Messi and Co will come to the Etihad Stadium on February 18, with the return in the Nou Camp on March 12.

One Spanish newspaper splashed a story on their front page that City was the draw that no-one at Barca wanted, after the Blues had won at Bayern and then stuck six past Premier Arsenal. leaders League And City's sporting director Txiki Begiristain reacted by saying: "As a draw it could be better, but in the end it is a truly wonderful tie." " But Pellegrini was more bullishasked when about drawing a team which has won three of the last eight finals, and boasts arguably the best player in the world in Lionel Messi.

"They will be very concerned also, not only because we beat Bayern Munich," said the Chilean, who knows Barca inside out from his time as a club in manager Spain.

"They know Manchester Man-a is City chester team strong and it will be difficult for them. Barcelona is not the team it was two years ago. We will see how they arrive in February." " Pellegrini expanded on his unusually critical assessment of another team, saying: "Maybe Ihap-what exactly know don't pened man-agers happened inside Barcelona. "They changed three managers in the last three years, maybe the performance of the players are not the same, maybe the players are older. "There is a lot of reasons why teams change their performance.

per-formance.

"They continue to be a very good team. Two years ago they were more unbeatable than today." " The prospect of running into Messi, who is expected to be back from an injury lay-off in time to play in both legs, also leaves Pellegrini unmoved: "It's not impossible but difficult. …

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