Pellegrini has point to prove

Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini called on his team to deliver in Barcelona as he again asserted confidence in his position.

Pellegrini has become noticeably more bullish in recent weeks as pressure and speculation over his future have increased.

The Chilean is under considerable scrutiny with his side faltering in their Barclays Premier League title defence and seemingly needing to overturn a deficit in Barcelona to salvage their season.

City go to the Nou Camp on Wednesday for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie trailing 2-1 after defeat to the Catalan giants at the Etihad Stadium three weeks ago.

Pellegrini was inevitably asked about his future as he met media on the eve of the match but he brushed off the questions and tried to rouse his players.

The 61-year-old said: “First of all I respect all opinions but I don’t think my seat is in danger. But even if it was I wouldn’t do anything differently, I would do the same thing and focus and concentrate on the game.

“I want to say there’s no such strange atmosphere at Manchester City. We’re second in the Premier League, still playing strong and are going to fight to prove it tomorrow.

“It is a good opportunity for our team and the only way to prove it is to beat one of the biggest teams in Europe and we have that chance tomorrow.”

City were beaten by Barca at the same stage last season, losing both legs in a 4-1 aggregate defeat. City had a player sent off in both those matches, as they did when the sides met last month.

And the Catalan giants have sent an ominous warning to the reigning English champions, with playmaker Andres Iniesta saying they will be going all out to finish the job in emphatic fashion.

”We will have to go out there and play in a very comprehensive manner. We need to have lots of ball possession so they suffer, so they have to follow the ball.”

Barca boss Luis Enrique played down the significance of their recent form against City and stressed that they will have to be on form if they are to extend the hoodoo to four matches.

The 44-year-old former Barcelona and Real Madrid player said: ”What happened last season has no repercussions. This season we have had a good first leg but with only one game you won’t go through to the next round.

”We know we have to have a very good second leg to be capable of getting the better of our rival again.”

Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

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