Too little, too early for Pep
City goalkeeper and Barca old boy says Spanish giants will be feeling the heat
BARCELONA v MANCHESTER CITY
(Tomorrow, 2.45am, Singtel TV Ch 112 & StarHub TV Ch 212)
Claudio Bravo believes the pressure is all on Barcelona, ahead of his reunion with his old club.
The Manchester City goalkeeper is making a quick return to the Nou Camp less than two months after his move to the Etihad Stadium as the clubs meet in a blockbuster Champions League clash (tomorrow morning, Singapore time).
After dropping points at Celtic in their last Group C outing, City go into the first of tough back-to-back clashes against Barca already trailing the Spanish champions, but Bravo is not fazed.
The 33-year-old said: "Barcelona have to win at all costs. They're playing at home. We have to do our things well, with our weapons, and keep our rhythm going.
"Every team has a chance. They have important players but we have to go there with the intention to do things well."
Bravo made 75 appearances for Barca between 2014 and 2016 but, interestingly, did not play for them in the Champions League where Marc-Andre ter Stegen was preferred.
His return to his former club is just one of a number of talking points ahead of the glamour clash, with the main focal point being Pep Guardiola's homecoming.
City's new manager is a revered figure at Barca after winning 14 trophies in a glittering four-year spell as coach, including three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues, following a highly successful playing career.
City will hope to make a bigger impression on the Spaniards than in their last meetings in the last 16 of the competition in both 2013-14 and 2014-15. Barca won both of those two-legged ties fairly comfortably.
lkay Gundogan believes Guardiola's unrivalled insight into Barcelona can help City stop Lionel Messi.
Guardiola was defeated the first time he took on his former club, when his Bayern Munich outfit were beaten 3-0 in the 2015 Champions League semi-finals as Messi ran riot in the closing stages.
But Gundogan believes City will be boosted by his detailed knowledge of the club where he made his name as both player and coach.
"It's a big plus for us because he knows them," the Germany international told reporters. "He knows the team, the club, the stadium and he knows Messi.
"He also knows the Barcelona way, the Catalan way so he knows everything and he will give us some information that other managers can't give.
"This is important, definitely. He knows how they play, and how they will want to play. At the end, though, it's down to our players to do that on the field and carry out what he wants us to do."
City's Spanish winger Jesus Navas feels Barca's quality has dipped little since Guardiola brought his phenomenal Nou Camp reign to an end in 2012.
Navas said: "The way they played by keeping the ball made them very difficult to beat. Individually and collectively they were a well-drilled team. They have had really good years and are still having them now. Individually they have top players. We will need to be very focused." - PA Sport.
I got to win the Champions League in my second season — but I am desperate to win it again. When you win it you don’t think that is a goal achieved, you think I want to keep on achieving this because it feels so good.
— Barcelona’s Brazilian wizard, Neymar
It doesn’t scare me, no... I see it as an exciting challenge and one I’m looking forward to. For me, Messi’s the best player in the world, easily. He’s one of a kind... I’ll be looking forward to that challenge.
— Man City defender John Stones