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Pellegrini relishes Barca challenge

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17 Dec 2013 09:17:03

Pellegrini relishes Barca challenge

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is looking forward with confidence after learning his next Champions League opponents will be Barcelona.

Far from being intimidated by the Catalan giants, Pellegrini is already relishing the prospect of a two-legged last-16 tie against the four-time winners in February.

Being paired with Barcelona was City's dubious reward for finishing runners-up to Bayern Munich in their group - a position they could have bettered by beating the Germans by one more goal than they did last week - at the UEFA draw in Switzerland.

But Pellegrini, a former Real Madrid coach, believes Barca should be just as wary of facing his free-scoring side.

The Chilean said: "They know Manchester City is a strong team 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."

City, particularly at home, have been in outstanding form this season.

They scored six against Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal last weekend, matching the figure they put past Tottenham last month, while they have also beaten Norwich 7-0 this term.

Pellegrini, who took Malaga to the quarter-finals last year, is sure Barcelona will already have taken notice of this, particularly with the first leg at the Etihad Stadium.

He said: "I suppose they know about that but you can't always expect to score five, six, seven goals at home.

"We always try to do it - that's why I am not concerned about what happened in Germany.

"But of course it's an important record and we'll try to keep it up."


PA

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