Belfast Telegraph

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique hails Sky Blues' progress under old pal Pep Guardiola

By Andy Hampson

Luis Enrique admits Barcelona are wary of their former manager Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side.

Barca beat the Sky Blues 4-0 when they met in the first of their Champions League Group C encounters at the Nou Camp but Enrique believes that scoreline flattered the Spanish champions.

The sides meet again at the Etihad Stadium tonight and Enrique is expecting a difficult test as he comes up against his old Barca and Spain team-mate Guardiola.

The 46-year-old said: "I expect the same type of game as the last one. That result really didn't reflect the way the match went.

"I don't think they can be any more aggressive in terms of pressure. They were pressing us up to the stand almost.

"I think Pep's Man City have a lot of things going for them, they can do many things. I think you need to adapt to their football so you can press them.

"We know Pep and we know his ideas. We have to be very attentive to what they do because Pep will try to touch the correct key to get the result.

"We can be impressed by what he has done in three months at Manchester City. They are a team that go to play on any pitch in the world and try to get the ball. I love the philosophy, I love his ideas.

"He has had his impact and I am sure the team will get better and better with every month that goes by. I think the future for City is bright and attractive."

Barca go into the game with a maximum nine points from three games and needing just a draw to secure a place in the knockout stages for a 13th successive year. They could even win the group with a victory if Borussia Monchengladbach fail to beat Celtic.

Enrique said: "It is a great opportunity for us to qualify here. Obviously it won't be easy. We want to be first in the group, that is our objective, but to do that we will have to play at our top level.

"Whatever happens, there are still two match days left but we want to win here and finish first in the group."

Barcelona are likely to come up against City's top scorer Sergio Aguero this time after the Argentina striker was surprisingly named on the bench for the first encounter.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic admits he is a man they fear.

He said: "We know Sergio Aguero is one of the best in the world.

"We hope his (two) goals on Saturday (against West Brom) will be the last for a few days," Rakitic added.

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