Football

Published: Wednesday March 12, 2014 MYT 4:12:02 AM
Updated: Wednesday March 12, 2014 MYT 4:12:45 AM

City have strike force to knock out Barca, says Kompany

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is confident his side's strike force can make the difference against Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.

City must overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit at the Nou Camp to make the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

"I think of our own players, (Alvaro) Negredo, (Edin) Dzeko, the firepower we have up front," Kompany told a news conference on Tuesday.

"If everything goes well we can hurt Barcelona. I will tell you one thing, I am very happy to have on my side great strikers."

City also have top scorer Sergio Aguero available after the Argentinian missed the first leg through injury.

"If we all believe in it, then it is possible," Kompany said. "It is one of the toughest places to come in the world to achieve something like this. This is the type of game where you don't need extra motivation.

"I don't know if I will play but if I do then my role in defence will be important. I would rather concentrate on the strikers, though, and if they score then we have a chance.

"Everyone has to be at their best: the forwards, wingers, fullbacks. We won't achieve anything here with passengers. We have done it before, performance-wise."

Kompany believes a win over Barca, in City's third Champions League campaign, would be comparable to winning the 2012 Premier League title in the final game of the season against Queens Park Rangers.

"Football is made for nights like this," he said.

"Emotionally it would be difficult to beat what we did against QPR. We were chasing lost causes, then it turned into our day. Each year we are stronger. We are progressing in the Champions League and we are looking forward to special nights, which we need.

"Conceding now is not as bad as not scoring, and we will have to score now three goals over the game. It will all be about who gets the first goal, and if we take the lead the dynamics change. No one would put money on that we can't score here."

Barca were beaten by lowly Valladolid in La Liga at the weekend, their second league defeat in three games, while City lost their FA Cup quarter-final tie with Wigan Athletic.

City's assistant manager, Ruben Cousillas, said: "Barca are still one of the best teams in the world, with one of the best players in the world in (Lionel) Messi and a strong coach (Gerardo Martino) I know very well."

Cousillas will have extra responsibility on Wednesday with City manager Manuel Pellegrini suspended following comments he made about Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson after the first leg.

"We have to go out and do what Manuel Pellegrini has been doing during his time in Europe, which is playing possession football even though it will be difficult to take the ball off Barcelona," Cousillas said.

"We know what we have to do and will try and take the risks necessary to turn the game around.

"I am the assistant but I have been working with (Pellegrini) for 13 years. I know how he thinks and the decisions he will want to make. I will take the responsibility tomorrow, calmly and with confidence."

(Editing by Tom Hayward and Stephen Wood) nL3N0M84CU

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