VIDEO – Inside view of how FC Barcelona prep for the Champions League clash with Manchester City City
The following six-minute video gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Barça’s training session and Mascherano and Martino’s press conferences
The Champions Leauge has returned to Can Barça. The first team held its penultimate training session at the Ciutat Esportiva ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Manchester City at the Camp Nou. A total of 23 players, all of whom will spend the night the team hotel this evening, participated in the session.
After the session, Javier Mascherano and Gerardo Martino talked to the press.
“Don’t count us out,” declared the center back when asked about the team’s recent form. The manager cautioned that his team would do well to forget the 0-2 scoreline from the first leg. “We have to think about this match as if it were a second half, with the score at 0-0. We can’t speculate.”
The Argentinean denied the team had been shaken by the Valladolid defeat and insisted that the Champions was the best possible stage to bounce back on.
“Despite their slip ups in the league, Javier Mascherano reckons it’s far too early to write the team off, insisting: “we’re not dead”, and reminding reporters that the team are still very much in the hunt for the League, Cup and Champions League titles.
Mascherano was also adamant that the team hadn’t been shaken by the defeat in Valladolid and that the players had been analysing the bad results they’d suffered in a very different way from the media: “they want us to think that all is lost, but that’s just not so. The game against City is a good moment to show that “.[[CITA_1]]“We have a lead and we will try and take maximum advantage of that. We’ll be true to our style of play and on Thursday we’ll re-focus on the league – If we get back to our best, we have a chance of fighting for all three competitions”
Mascherano was also quick to defend coach Gerardo Martino: “this is the first year I have worked with him. He’s a coach who has had to go through worse than two defeats in 15 days. I think we both come from somewhere that things are much more dramatic than here”.[[CITA_2]] “He is a coach who may not be a big name for some of you, but he has been in this job for 15 years and everything he has done, he’s done himself, nobody’s ever given him anything for free. He had to leave Argentina to make his name and he did it, went back and was a winner there too. As a coach he nearly knocked out the champions at the World Cup. We don’t underestimate him – once you start to do that you are lacking respect”.
Javier Mascherano and Tata Martino pre-game press conference ahead of FC Barcelona – Manchester City FC (Champions League).
Barça have not conceded in 20 of their 44 games this season, whilst City have avoided conceding in 17 of their 44 matches.
Both Manchester City and Barça share a common objective on Wednesday night – keeping a clean sheet. Barça will be looking to build on their great win at the Etihad, whist City know another goal for their hosts would really harm any hopes of a quarter final berth.
Barça have avoided conceding a goal in 20 of their 44 games this season, 12 in the league, 4 in the Cup, once in the Super Cup and 3 in the Champions League – at the Etihad (0-2), Celtic Park (0-1) and at home to Ajax (4-0). Since that win in Manchester though, they have failed to keep another clean sheet.
City clean sheet once in 7 European games
Manuel Pellegrini have managed to stop their opponents scoring in 17 of the 44 games they have played this year: 12 in the league, 1 in the FA Cup, 3 din the Capital One Cup and just once in the Champions League – in their opening game of the group stage against Viktoria Plzen (0-3).
The last clean sheet that City kept was three games ago, when they beat Stoke at the Etihad in the league 1-0.
Pellegrini believes in City's chances of progressing. "I'm absolutely sure we can do it" – Pellegrini
The Chilean manager sat down with Manchester City’s web department to talk about the upcoming match against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou
“I don’t have any doubt that we are going to go to Barcelona thinking that we can do it, that we can beat them at the Camp Nou and we will try to have our revenge there,” says Pellegrini
In an interview conducted days prior to the second leg of the Champions League knock out round at the Camp Nou, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini sat down with mcfc.co.uk to give his impressions on the upcoming showdown with FC Barcelona.
When asked about the result from the first leg (0-2) and how he fancies his team’s chances of progressing to the next round, Pellegrini said: “It’s difficult, of course. I think the game we played here was a very close until the penalty and send off by Martín Demichelis. Of course playing against Barcelona with one less player is not easy.” He added: “I don’t have any doubt that we are going to go to Barcelona thinking that we can do it, that we can beat them at the Camp Nou and we will try to have our revenge there.”
The Chilean continued by talking about his past in La Liga and his accomplishments at FC Barcelona’s stadium. “The Camp Nou is always full, it’s a big pitch also – it’s a very difficult stadium,” he said. “I won with Villarreal at the Camp Nou, I tied there with Malaga … it’s a very important game for both teams, they have the advantage of two goals and maybe they can work more with the tempo and the pace of the game. We will try to have the tempo we need to score goals but we’ll see what happens on Wednesday.”
What are the key battles at the Camp Nou?
Looking ahead to the match in Catalonia, Pellegrini highlighted what he believes to be the biggest aspects of the game his men will need to control in order to make it to the quarter-finals. “First, as in all important games, it’s the individual performances of the players – they have very good players, we also have very good players. The second thing is if we can score a goal early, I think that could make Barcelona a little bit more nervous.” He added: “There are so many things in big games that it’s very difficult to know what the key [battles] will be.”
Despite the 0-2 defeat at the Etihad, the Chilean is convinced that his men can turn the tie around at the Camp Nou. “We can do it and we have a lot of trust to try to do it. If we have a good day I’m absolutely sure that we can do it,” concluded Manchester City’s manager.
Watch the interview in its entirety here.