Wednesday 19 February 2014
Manchester City suffered a setback to their UEFA Champions League hopes after suffering a home defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday night.
Manchester City have it all to do to keep their UEFA Champions League dream alive after suffering a 2-0 defeat at home to Barcelona in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
"The team played with courage, with personality, and tried to draw the match with 10 men"
After a goalless first half Manuel Pellegrini's side had to play for most of the second period with 10 men following the dismissal of Martin Demichelis for a foul on Lionel Messi in the 53rd minute.
The Argentina international picked himself up to beat Joe Hart from the penalty spot and despite a valiant display by City, who came close to producing an equaliser through David Silva, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri, the visitors dealt a savage blow by scoring a second in the last minute through Dani Alves.
The result was harsh on the Citizens, who have a mountain to climb in the return leg at Camp Nou in three weeks' time, but Pellegrini has called upon his side to reproduce the sort of determined performance that saw them come back from two goals down to beat Bayern Munich away from home in the group stage.
"Barcelona had a lot of the ball but they had it where we wanted," said Pellegrini. "They were not near our area; that's what we wanted. The team played with courage, with personality, and tried to draw the match with 10 men.
"We're going to try, of course, at the Camp Nou - we did it at Bayern when we lost at home. The second goal makes it difficult because the match was almost over and now [Barcelona] have a bigger advantage but we will have to see what we can do there."
Arsene Wenger says his side need to show belief if they are to fare better on Wednesday evening when they face Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium in their round of 16 first leg.
"We believe we can do it, but that's down to the quality of our performance"
Arsenal are flying high in second place in the Barclays Premier League and their manager believes their 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday will have boosted their confidence ahead of the visit of the European club champions.
"We are in a much better mental shape today than we were one year ago because we lost against Blackburn [Rovers] at home in the FA Cup," said Wenger. "It was a big disappointment for us, but this time we defeated Liverpool and we are really determined to win this game.
"We know we face the competition favourites, but what we have is the belief because we've had big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup. We played against Tottenham [Hotspur] and against Liverpool, so since the start of the season we know that in every single game we have to be 100%.
"We believe we can do it, but that's down to the quality of our performance. We have a strong team spirit, that is for sure. We have a strong desire to do well and a united team. We always have these qualities, but perhaps we do not always have the belief – belief is built by results and on that front we are strong, of course."
The Frenchman, who will be without the suspended midfielder Mikel Arteta and the injured Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Kim Kallstrom, will also be boosted by the fact that his side have never lost at home to a side managed by his opposite number this evening, Pep Guardiola.
"It's my third time here to play Arsenal," said the former Barcelona head coach, who must make do without the services of injured forwards Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri. "I've never won here and I've learned that you can't dominate for 90 minutes against Arsenal. You can play good and dominate for half the game perhaps, or for 70 minutes, but for 90 minutes it's impossible."
UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg results
Tuesday 18 February
Manchester City 0-2 Barcelona
Bayer Leverkusen 0-4 Paris Saint-Germain
UEFA Champions round of 16 first-leg fixtures
Wednesday 19 February
Arsenal v Bayern Munich, 7.45pm
AC Milan v Atletico Madrid, 7.45pm