The Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has said that Barcelona might not have wanted to face his team in the Round of 16.
City had faced Barcelona in Europe last season as well and had been defeated. The Catalan giants are the favourites again, but, it’s believed that the encounter would be much tighter this time around with the Sky Blues having built a great squad over the last 12 months.
The first leg of that pre quarter final tie would take place at Etihad in the last week of February and then, after about 15 days or so, the two teams would gather at Camp Nou for the return leg fixture.
Pellegrini is confident that his Sergio Aguero would return in time to play in that first leg.
Speaking about Aguero, the Chilean said, “Hopefully, he is back with us come January. He is so important to this side. He has set up a number of games for us this season. He can disturb the balance of the opposition; he has that quality in him. He makes impact whenever he is out there.”
When asked about his thoughts on having been made to play against Barca in the first knockout tie, Pellegrini said, “That’s the way it goes. At times, you’ve got to face strong teams early. If given choice, I would not have preferred playing Barca at this point of time and I think they would not have preferred that either. They perhaps would also have liked a different opponent. But, now, the draw has been made and it’s important to rise to the occasion.”
City has to play a handful of Premier League games before that tie. The first one of them is against Crystal Palace this Saturday.