Bring on Barcelona, says unconcerned City boss

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Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini does not believe facing Barcelona is the fearsome prospect it once was.

City have been handed a testing tie against the Catalan giants in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Pellegrini’s men might have avoided such a big clash had they not misunderstood the group stage goal difference rules last week.

City beat Bayern Munich 3-2 but Pellegrini failed to realise that victory by one more goal would have secured top spot in their group and a theoretically more favourable draw. Yet simply after beating the European champions, and then scoring six past Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal, Pellegrini is confident.

He said: “Barcelona is not the team it was two years ago.”

While Pellegrini accepts he miscalculated in Munich, he insists his side would have faced a tough draw from whichever position they had finished in the group. He said: “All the 16 teams are the best teams of Europe - so Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund for me was exactly the same.”

Despite what happened in Munich - and Pellegrini’s failure to send on top scorer Sergio Aguero continues to be picked out by critics - the Chilean insists his team did not stop trying to score a fourth.

Last 16 draw (first legs on February 18, 19, 25 and 26): Manchester City v Barcelona, Olympiakos v Manchester United, AC Milan v Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen v Paris St-Germain, Galatasaray v Chelsea, Schalke v Real Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg v Dortmund, Arsenal v Bayern Munich.