Samir Nasri believes Manchester City can draw inspiration from their victory at Bayern Munich as they seek to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Barcelona in the Champions League
Samir Nasri claims Manchester City can overturn apparently insurmountable odds by beating Barcelona in the Nou Camp and progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals, insisting that the Spaniards are not in the same class as Bayern Munich.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team must overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit in Catalonia on March 12 to eliminate the Spanish champions. But despite the challenge facing City, Nasri believes the club’s 3-2 victory against European champions Bayern at the Allianz Arena in December proves the team’s ability to beat the best.
“It is not over,” Nasri said. “Before the game, we said it is a game of 180 minutes and we can do what Valencia did earlier this month and beat them at home. We will fight until the end.
“We will have to gamble, but why not? We went to Bayern Munich and beat them, so we can do the same in Barcelona.
“Are Barca the best team we have faced? No, I don’t think they are. Bayern are the best team we played. Against Bayern, for 60 minutes, we did not touch the ball. They are the best team, Barcelona are not.
“If it was not for the penalty [scored by Lionel Messi], it was 0-0, but Bayern was not the same. We did not touch the ball and they scored goals without a mistake from anyone. They showed us how great they were.”
Although City’s 3-2 victory at Bayern was achieved in what was effectively a dead rubber in Group D, with both teams having already qualified for the last 16, Pellegrini’s players fought back from 2-0 down to win in Bavaria
And with Nasri having played in emphatic City victories at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane in recent seasons, he believes an offensive approach in the Nou Camp will increase prospects of a victory against Barcelona.
“We believe in ourselves,” Nasri said. “We do not need support from outside or anything like that, we believe in what we can do. We won at Munich, we won at Manchester United, Spurs, and by big scores.
Everything is possible – 3-1? We can do it. When you play like this, you have to believe. We have quality.
“Barcelona do not like to be attacked. They like to have the ball, to be in control, they do not like to defending. They are not used to defending, so when you have got the ball you attack them, you make them run. They do not like that.
“When it is a big game like this, the two teams are there like boxers in the first round, trying to see how your opponent is. After the early stages, we started to press them high and we saw they were like any team. They lose the ball.
“I watch every game and I saw Valencia beat Barcelona in the Nou Camp. They played without fear. I saw Sofiane Feghouli on the right, he just went on and on and on, and he made the difference. Pablo Piatti, who is 1.64metres [5ft 4in], scored with a header. They played without fear and that is what we need to do. We have to gamble, try to play and attack them.”
Although City will be without the suspended Martin Demichelis in the second leg, leading goalscorer Sergio Agüero is due to return from injury against Stoke City this weekend, increasing the likelihood of his availability in the Nou Camp.
Nasri admits that the former Atletico Madrid forward will be a key addition against Barcelona. “Agüero will be back, he will be fitter, so why not?” Nasri said. “He makes a difference.”