Barcelona coach wary of English giants in pre-quarters of Champions League
Nyon: Barcelona are wary of facing Manchester City in the Last 16 of the Champions League for the second year in a row after the two clubs were paired in yesterday's draw.
Barca beat City 4-1 on aggregate last season to reach the quarter-finals of the competition but head coach Luis Enrique expects a level tie this time around.
"City aspires to the (Champions League) title just as we do," Luis Enrique told his club's official website. "They are a hard rival, one of the hardest that we could have asked for.
"It's going to be a very complicated tie, of that I'm certain." City beat Luis Enrique's former club Roma 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in their final group game to remain in the Europe's elite club competition.
The Barca boss, who replaced Gerardo Martino at the helm of the Catalan outfit this summer, is aware of the task that awaits him but admitted he was up for the challenge.
"If there is something I understand, (it) is Barca," he said. "After eight years as a player at the club and three as a coach (Barcelona B team) you learn a lot. I knew where I was coming to and I'm delighted to be here.
"I always think positive and I believe we are going to progress from this tie. We are in December right now and we will try to reach the month of March with options to win every title. We will see if we are capable of doing so.
Barcelona will rely on their attacking troika of Luis Suarez (left), Lionel Messi and Neymar (right) discuss a free kick during the clash against Ajax at The Amsterdam Arena last month. Pic/Getty Images
"I'm not unhappy with the performance of my team so far. I see a good attitude from my players and we will see if we are capable of improving our performances."
Barca will travel to the Etihad Stadium for the first leg on February 24 before hosting City on March 18 at the Nou Camp.
Barca won 2-0 in Manchester last season before defeating City 2-1 at home. "To play the return leg at home is not necessarily an advantage," Luis Enrique said. "But I hope in our case it will be crucial."
Barca won five and lost just one of their six games in the competition to finish top of Group F. Luis Enrique's side scored 15 goals while giving away five in the process.