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Martino: It's the tightest tie

Gerardo Martino says Barcelona's double-header with Manchester City is the hardest tie to call in the Champions League last 16.

Last Updated: 18/02/14 at 15:52 Post Comment

Gerardo Martino: Barca boss accepts Man City are among world's best

Gerardo Martino: Barca boss accepts Man City are among world's best

And the Barca boss insists City are not a copy of his side, but one of the best teams in the world in their own right.

The two teams meet in the first leg of the eagerly anticipated showdown at the Etihad on Tuesday night and Manuel Pellegrini's free-scoring City have drawn comparisons with Barcelona this season.

But Martino said: "I don't think City are a mini-Barcelona or a mini any team. I think they are one of the greatest teams in the world. They have great Spanish players like (Jesus) Navas and (David) Silva, but it is not only Spanish players.

"They have great players from all over the world like Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho."

Barca have won the competition three times since 2006 and have reached the semi-finals in the last six years.

And Martino admits expectation is something he and his players accept.

"For the last six seasons Barcelona have made it to the semi-finals and the fans are used to that," he said.

"It will be difficult to understand if we don't go through but it is the tightest tie of all."

His plan, he admits, is simple - keep the ball.

"The thing to do for us is to keep possession. City have a very similar game to us, maybe a bit more direct but they are very good in possession," he said. "I think the team with less possession of the ball will suffer most."

When asked what his side's 'plan B' might be should City dominate possession, he said: "Obviously to take the ball away from them.

"If we don't have the ball, it is just pointless to come to this game."

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P

S I've always envisioned him as a Pirlo or a Scholes, though he needs some of Andy Murray's conditioning and shiny, ankle supports to keep his own from buckling under the tackles that will (inevitably) come his way. He's got the physique and low centre of gravity to flourish, but needs to make himself more resilient.

rab
Time For Another Wenger U-Turn On Wilshere?

A

s a United fan I fell I can say this without accusation of bias, Sergio Aguero is for me the only player close to Ronaldo or Messi, what goes against him is his injury record, Hazard is good in fits but doesn't give enough end product in my eyes, Tevez would be 4th for me

shea666
Suarez (Not Hazard) Is The World's Third Best

Q

uite funny because it's true. Remember when rodgers and stevie me came this close to winning the league though?

sarcasticgooner
Wenger: Arsenal Came *This* Close

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