With Barcelona ready to host Manchester City for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, Cesc Fabregas says Barca have to be a more disciplined unit than the one that lost to Real Sociedad and Valladolid.
‘I think we need to be almost perfect’ says Fabregas, as Barca prepare for City
Barcelona attacking midfielder Cesc Fabregas believes possession will be the key to preventing Manchester City from producing a historic comeback in their Champions League last 16, second leg on Wednesday.
No team in the Champions League era has ever come back after losing the first leg 2-0 at home, but that is what City must do to reach the last eight after Lionel Messi’s penalty and a late strike from Dani Alves gave Barca a commanding advantage at the Etihad Stadium three weeks ago.
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.”
Barca manager Gerardo Martino has a fully-fit squad to choose from and is expected to make just one change from the first leg with Neymar coming in for Chilean Alexis Sanchez up front.
City suffered a similarly disappointing weekend as they were knocked out of the FA Cup at home by Championship side Wigan, who also beat them in last year’s final.
Manuel Pellegrini will at least be able to recall Brazilian international Fernandinho and captain Vincent Kompany as they were rested on Sunday.
Kompany will be tasked with keeping a frightening Barca frontline, that includes Messi and Neymar, quiet if his side are to have any chance of progressing.
However, the Belgian defender warned against fixating on the threat posed by the South American duo.
“Of course there are always names that crop up because they are a team with exceptional, fantastic players,” he told Uefa.com
“But the reality is they are above all a team. They have many players capable of posing a threat and we must be aware that it is Barcelona we have to beat, not only Messi or Neymar.
“The threat could come from anywhere, but if we have these concerns I am sure it is the same for both teams.”
City will be bolstered by the return of Messi’s Argentine international teammate Sergio Aguero, who scored six times against Barca as an Atletico Madrid player, after he missed the first leg through injury.
David Silva and Aleksandar Kolarov are also expected to start after being left on the bench for the Wigan game, whilst Martin Demichelis is suspended after being sent-off in the first leg.
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