Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says his team may not possess the same fear factor of the Pep Guardiola era ahead of their last-16 tie against Manchester City.
The La Liga champions were winners of Europe’s elite competition in 2009 and 2011 under the now Bayern Munich coach, but were humiliated 7-0 on aggregate by the Bavarians- under retired boss Jupp Heynckes- in the semi-finals last season.
“Maybe they don’t fear us as before because in the last two years we didn’t win the Champions League,” said Pique.
“We can still be the best, but we have to show to the world we can do it.
Either opponents has had a change in their managerial structure in the ongoing season with the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini at the Eastland outfit and the departure of the ill Vilanova for Gerardo Martino.
But City’s Chilean boss has gotten off to an impressive start with the Manchester club, while Martino has had to endure a rough ride in terms of the investigation of Neymar’s transfer from Santos and Sandro Rosell’s resignation as club president.
On the pitch, Pellegrini succeeded in guiding the Citizens to a first Champions League knock-out stage berth, as well as orchestrating a rare 3-2 win at Bayern’s Allianz Arena, thanks to his favoured attack-minded style of play.
Pique however wants the Baulgranas to do their talking on the pitch.
“The only way we have to speak is on the pitch. We know that in the club in the last six months there were some things that we cannot control as players.
“All we can do is play on the pitch and show the world that we can still be the best and try and play a great game against a great team like Manchester City,” the Spain international centre-back added.
It would be the first meeting between both sides in a competitive match and Pellegrini could count on the return of Brazilian midfielder, Fernandinho, as their Argentine prolific striker, Sergio Aguero, remains sidelined.
“He (Aguero) is not fit. We will see if he can be fit for Saturday (against Stoke City) but maybe that is difficult,” said Pellegrini.
“He (Fernandinho) has a chance. He is in the squad list.
“We will see on Tuesday who can start but he has worked without any problem.”