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Zabaleta eager for Man City to go on the attack against Barcelona

17 Feb 2014 17:01:56

Zabaleta eager for Man City to go on the attack against Barcelona

Pablo Zabaleta is confident Manchester City can force the pace in their eagerly-anticipated Champions League clash against Barcelona.

City are preparing for one of the biggest nights in their history as the four-time European champions visit the Etihad Stadium for the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

It is the first time City have reached this stage of the competition and Barcelona's reputation is a formidable one, but the hosts believe they can take the game to the mighty Catalans.

Defender Zabaleta said: "The manager will decide but I think it's important that we stick to our game, that we go on the attack because we have attacking players.

"It's a special match because we know we will be coming up against one of the best teams in the world. For us it's a very important match."

The tie is another landmark point in City's ongoing drive to become a European force.

Yet while the long-term ambitions are evident, Zabaleta believes it is important to enjoy the ride and a tie against Barca - even if they are perceived as past their peak - is one to savour.

Zabaleta, whose battle with friend and Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi could be intriguing, said: "They still have that intensity, they still have a great team, great individuals and they have had much success in recent years.

"For this group it's something new, something important to be able to play against a big team like Barca and it's important that we enjoy it."

Defender Martin Demichelis is also wary of the threat of Barca, who warmed up for the trip to England with a 6-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano last weekend, but insists City will not be left wanting.

The 33-year-old said: "We have maximum respect for this Barcelona side.

"They have great players, they have had a lot of success for such a long time and it's not easy to maintain that winning mentality for such a long time.

"But we are really up for this, we will approach the game with aggression and, as we always say, if we go out of a competition, it's because the opposition plays better than us, not because we are scared of competing."


PA

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