A trip to the Camp Nou, especially in a bid to overturn a two-goal deficit, is always an arduous challenge. Manchester City's elimination in the FA Cup contributes to the already laborious task on the horizon. A damaging psychological effect gained at the hands of Wigan.
City were unusually lacklustre on Sunday, lacking any sense of urgency and purpose in the opening half, as their Championship opponents, also their nemesis in last season's FA Cup Final, strung a major shock in delivering City's fourth defeat this season in all competitions. The others? Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Barcelona, their Champions League round of 16 opponents on Wednesday.
Those City contingent would have been aware of their missed opportunity in the Etihad home dressing-room after their disappointing exit out of the Cup. They would have additionally been aware of the fact that any hope of a quadruple or triple trophy triumph had diminished in those ninety minutes. His side's exit is not the only complication Manuel Pellegrini must solve. It is what follows which could prove to be much more significant, when his men travel to Catalonia.
On their day, Barca possess the quality to obliterate a decent team, such is the adept names which occupy the famed home dressing room at the Camp Nou. Couple their potent attacking force (Neymar, Sanchez, Messi) with their enervating passing philosophy, Tata Martino's men are a powerful force to be reckoned with, despite their critics sighting a decline of the Blaugrana since Pepe Guardiola's departure.
They demonstrated their still existent and indisputably quality at the Etihad Stadium a fortnight ago, despite being aided by the unnecessary antics of Martin Demichelis, who will miss the return leg with suspension. Following his atrocious defensive display on Sunday, the positivity surrounding his availability is hardly surprising. Pellegrini must learn of his favourite's propensity to cost his side dearly, before the ramifications of his terrible errors grow in stature.
When in the disheartening process of licking your definitively salted wounds, a trip to the Camp Nou to face a rallied Barca side boasting a two-goal advantage is unwelcome.
Pellegrini must pick up his players.