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Saturday 16 December 2017

city boys aim to tame barca

Barcelona defender tells City to forget about Champions League this season

BARCELONA star Gerard Pique has told Manchester City to forget about winning the Champions League this year.

And ahead of Barca's visit to England tonight for the first leg of their Champions League battle, the former Manchester United star has dismissed talk that the Catalans, who lost at home in their last La Liga game, are in crisis.

"In the Premier League they are showing they are one of the best teams in the world. I hope in the next years they will be fighting for this competition - but not this year," said Pique, a Champions League winner with United in 2008, of City as the two sides prepare to clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Barca trounced City 4-1 at this stage of the competition last season but Pique insists that's in the past. "I don't know if there is a bigger gap or if the gap has closed. We must not think about what happened last season but focus on putting on a good performance."

Questions have been asked about Barca's readiness for this game after a loss to Malaga last weekend but Pique played down suggestions that there was tension between the players and boss Luis Enrique.

"There are no problems between ourselves and the manager," he said.

"We get on fine, the relationship is good. We are just off the bounce of 11 wins. Good results are the only way to show people the team is just like it was three days ago.

"We are playing well but you can always have the odd slip-up. Playing against a big team three days after the last defeat is fantastic, you don't have time to reflect."

Barca boss Luis Enrique said: "We are hoping to win the trophy so we have to go through games like this.

"I don't think there is a favourite in this game."

BARCELONA star Gerard Pique has told Manchester City to forget about winning the Champions League this year.

And ahead of Barca's visit to England tonight for the first leg of their Champions League battle, the former Manchester United star has dismissed talk that the Catalans, who lost at home in their last La Liga game, are in crisis.

"In the Premier League they are showing they are one of the best teams in the world. I hope in the next years they will be fighting for this competition - but not this year," said Pique, a Champions League winner with United in 2008, of City as the two sides prepare to clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Barca trounced City 4-1 at this stage of the competition last season but Pique insists that's in the past. "I don't know if there is a bigger gap or if the gap has closed. We must not think about what happened last season but focus on putting on a good performance."

Questions have been asked about Barca's readiness for this game after a loss to Malaga last weekend but Pique played down suggestions that there was tension between the players and boss Luis Enrique.

"There are no problems between ourselves and the manager," he said. "We get on fine, the relationship is good. We are just off the bounce of 11 wins. Good results are the only way to show people the team is just like it was three days ago. We are playing well but you can always have the odd slip-up. Playing against a big team three days after the last defeat is fantastic, you don't have time to reflect."

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