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Thursday 14 December 2017

David Silva: We've got nothing to lose in Camp Nou

No pressure on City but Barca boss Enrique remains wary

Manchester City's David Silva
Manchester City's David Silva

David Silva believes Manchester City have nothing to lose as they head into tonight's crunch Champions League showdown at Barcelona.

City hit a new low on Saturday as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at relegation battlers Burnley to all but relinquish their grip on the Premier League trophy.

They could find salvation in the Champions League but it would require one of the club's greatest results as they head to the Nou Camp needing to overturn a 2-1 deficit to reach the quarter-finals.

It seems an unlikely prospect but Spain international Silva has not given up hope and has taken heart from events which took place in two of the last-16 games played last week.

The 29-year-old said: "Everybody wrote Schalke off before they played Real Madrid but they won 4-3 and could have scored again which would have put them through - nobody predicted that.

"Not many thought PSG could beat Chelsea, especially with only 10 men for so long, so I know that everything can happen, not only in the Champions League but in every game.

"Everyone is expecting Barca to go through but hopefully we can give a strong performance and we don't have any kind of pressure on us because we are behind and playing away."

City - beaten by Barcelona at the same stage last season - have defied the odds in the Champions League already this season after recovering from a dreadful position in the group phase to reach the knockout rounds.

Defeat to CSKA Moscow at the Etihad Stadium in November left them with just two points from four games but brilliant victories over Bayern Munich and Roma sent them through.

Silva said: "We need this kind of mentality we showed in those games.

"The most important thing is not to concede a goal because obviously things then become more difficult.

"We played well in the second leg against Barca last season and played with freedom so we will see."

Meanwhile, Barcelona are not taking progress for granted according to coach Luis Enrique.

Only twice in the Champions League era has a team won a knockout round tie after losing the first leg at home but Luis Enrique said Barca will still need to be at their best if they are to secure a place in the last eight

Seeking a record eighth consecutive quarter-final appearance, Barca have progressed 33 out of the 35 times they won the first leg away in European competition, most recently against City at the same stage last season.

"What is clear is that we are not taking anything for granted," Luis Enrique said at the Nou Camp.

"We will be facing one of the favourites for the competition, for the title," added the former Spain and Barca midfielder.

"We are still only halfway through the tie and have to play the return yet and looking at their players we can see they have the potential to make life difficult for us.

"They got back into the tie in the first leg despite our great start to the game. We are not taking anything for granted."

Luis Enrique, who repeatedly said Barca were not letting Sunday's La Liga 'Clasico' at home to Real Madrid distract them, confirmed that Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets would not feature against City as he is still sidelined by an ankle injury.

Ivan Rakitic or Javier Mascherano will likely play in the holding central role and will be up against City's former Barca midfielder Yaya Toure, who returns after suspension.

"He (Busquets) is a key player for the way he understands the game and his positional sense," Barca playmaker Andres Iniesta told Tuesday's news conference.

"It's a shame ... but we have other players to fall back on who can do the job well."

Barca are looking to join holders Real, Bayern Munich, Porto and Paris St Germain, who all went through to the quarter-finals last week, in Friday's draw. (Writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid, editing by Justin Palmer)

barcelona v man city, live rtÉ 2/sky sports 5, (ko 7.45)

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