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Manchester City have no fear of another Euro clash with Barcelona

Etihad chief is defiant despite Barca draw

By Jim Van Wijk

Manchester City should have nothing to fear from drawing Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League, according to director of football Txiki Begiristain.

City scraped through their group behind Bayern Munich, and so were not seeded for the knockout stages, with Chelsea paired against French champions Paris St Germain while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be reunited with his former club Monaco.

Manuel Pellegrini's men were beaten by Barca at the same stage last season, losing at home and away with a man sent off in each tie.

However, after coming through against the odds from Group E after winning a decisive final game against Roma, which followed on from a memorable 3-2 victory over Bayern at the Etihad, Begiristain sees no reason why City should not have confidence against a club he knows well having served at the Nou Camp as both a player and director.

"Every tie in that draw is the same, it is fantastic, so we are looking forward to it," he said.

"We have plenty of confidence with the way we qualified, beating Bayern Munich at home and Roma away, so the players will be working hard to get fit and arrive in confidence for those games.

"We have improved our squad from last season and we have real quality up front."

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique told a news conference that the Spanish giants expected nothing less than the sternest of tests from the Premier League champions.

"Playing in February against a team like Manchester City, it will be key to go into the game in top form," he said. "I always think positively and I am just thinking of winning the tie.

"We will look for a win by playing well, but there are games where you can't play the way you want to."

Wenger had joked he would "go to church" ahead of the draw in Nyon, Switzerland, hoping for a change in fortune having been paired with Bayern for the past two seasons.

The footballing gods appeared to be smiling on the Gunners, as Monaco were considered one of the weaker seeds, having come through Group C ahead of Bayer Leverkusen.

Arsenal's German playmaker Mesut Ozil could be fit from a knee problem in time to make the trip to the Principality, with the second leg set for March 17.

Chelsea's opponents PSG, meanwhile, lie second in Ligue 1 this season, and were runners-up to Barca in Group F with their only defeat coming at the Nou Camp.

Jose Mourinho's side defeated PSG in last season's quarter-finals, going through on away goals.

Chelsea club secretary David Barnard said: "All the teams in the draw are there by merit and PSG are no exception. Obviously they are known to us because we played them last year.

"Each match that comes along is a totally different scenario with different parameters.

"There is the added ingredient of David Luiz playing for PSG, who is fondly remembered by us for the Champions League final (in 2012).

"Jose Mourinho said before the draw he would like to get PSG for our supporters because of the logistics."

Luiz transferred between the two teams after the World Cup and PSG sporting director Olivier Letang said: "I think David will enjoy playing again at Stamford Bridge and the most important thing is that PSG wins. We hope we will have revenge on Chelsea after last season."

Elsewhere, holders Real Madrid face Schalke in the last 16, while city rivals and beaten finalists Atletico were drawn against Leverkusen.

The third Bundesliga side in the draw, Borussia Dortmund, take on Juventus in a repeat of the 1996 final and Basel face Porto.

Group winners will be away in the first legs, played on February 17, 18, 24 or 25, with the second legs on March 10, 11, 17 or 18, with ties staggered to maximise TV coverage.

 

Champions League last-16 draw

PSG v Chelsea

Man City v Barcelona

Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid

Juventus v Borussia Dortmund

Schalke 04 v Real Madrid

Shakhtar Donetsk v Bayern Munich

Arsenal v Monaco

Basle v FC Porto

Round of 16 first leg matches will be played on 17/18 and 24/25 February and the return matches on 10/11 and 17/18 March.

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