Manchester: Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City are in far better form to take on Barcelona in this season's Champions League than they were when they lost to the same opponents in the competition 12 months ago.
The Catalan club visit the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday for the first leg of the last-16 tie, a repeat of last season's two-legged meeting from which Barca emerged as 4-1 aggregate winners and City had players sent off in each game.
But, after a 5-0 victory over Newcastle United hauled City to within five points of Premier League leaders Chelsea, Pellegrini claimed that his side will be far tougher opponents in 2015.
"It is better because last year we arrived in February after we played 18 games, nine in December and nine in January," said Pellegrini.
In prime form
"Of those 18, we won 16 and drew two. I think we arrived not in our best moment. It was important also the sending-off of Martin Demichelis. In this year we played less games in January so we will try to continue in the Champions League."