English teams have fared spectacularly badly in Catalonia, recording just one win in 28 visits, and the Premier League champions need a miracle to turn around the tie.
Manchester City swap Burnley for Barcelona on Wednesday night needing to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men were beaten 1-0 at Turf Moor in the Premier League on Saturday – their third defeat in four matches in all competitions – and now face an even sterner away trip.
That poor run of form started with the home loss against Barca and, with English sides having won just once in 28 visits to Camp Nou, Pellegrini has been keen to play down the significance of a defeat against the Liga leaders.
“Manchester United in all of that great era under [Alex] Ferguson only won two Champions Leagues,” he said. “Real Madrid went 32 years without winning the European Cup.
“It is important to be there in the later rounds but you can’t think that not being there is a disaster.”
After falling behind to two goals from Luis Suarez at the Etihad Stadium, City pulled one back through Sergio Aguero only to have Gael Clichy sent off five minutes later. A stoppage time penalty miss from Lionel Messi, though, kept City’s slim hopes alive.
“You can talk about tactics and technique but if you go a man down against Barcelona, you’re put in a terrible position,” continued the Chilean coach. “It is not a disgrace to get knocked out by them.
“Their squad, if it is not the best in the world, it is the second best. No other team can put together Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez but I want to play them with 11 and if they knock us out then let that be because they were better than us.”
Barcelona, meanwhile, face a pivotal week in their season, with the visit of Clasico rivals Real Madrid, currently one points adrift in La Liga, to look forward to just four days after hosting City.
But speaking earlier this week, coach Luis Enrique said: “This will be a very nice week with two games in front of our fans, but it is not the most important.
“We’re going into the Clasico as leaders and in perfect form. But first we have to focus on City because qualification is at stake. Then we’ll see what happens at the weekend.”
City lost 2-0 at Camp Nou as they fell to a 4-1 aggregate defeat at the same stage last season, and have never made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Barcelona’s Martin Montoya sustained a fractured cheekbone in a 2-0 win at Eibar on Saturday, while Sergio Busquets (ankle) missed training this week.
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