Pep relishing return leg
Pep Guardiola feels that Barcelona's second leg against Arsenal will be a 'fantastic encounter'.
Last Updated: 17/02/11 6:22pm
Pep Guardiola feels that Barcelona's UEFA Champions League second leg match against Arsenal will be a 'fantastic encounter'.
The Gunners fought back admirably in the second half of the first leg at the Emirates to beat the Catalan giants 2-1 after going in a goal down at the interval.
They also held firm against Barca's at-times irresistible attack, although their opponents' finishing was strangely off the mark as they wasted chances to extend their lead.
Despite Arsenal's advantage, the visitors' away goal leaves them still favourites to progress after the second leg at the Nou Camp, but Guardiola feels that the encounter is set be one to savour.
"The second leg is going to be a fantastic match for everyone," said Guardiola. "When two teams want to play attractive football it is always nice and we will try and turn the tables at our place.
"The result is the thing I don't like but we need to congratulate Arsenal, who are an excellent team.
"These guys (Barca) have shown their quality before. Arsenal know that we will try and we know before the second leg that they are a good team."
Barca full-back Dani Alves added in AS:"We are coming away with a bitter-sweet taste, the same as last year. The first half was very nice for the spectators, but for us it was annoying because we had our chances.
"We need to be super-positive. The tie isn't over.
"We're fine, there's no need to ring the alarm bells. This is Europe and winning games is hard. There is still the return leg and we hope to be a little better."
His team-mates were in agreement, with midfielder Xavi claiming his side deserved the victory.
"It was an unfair defeat because we were better than Arsenal," he told the club's official website.
"There are 90 minutes left, at home, but it's a shame not to have got a different result.
"We played good football. They were very effective in front of goal and we weren't. In Europe you end up paying for that.
"We are always optimistic. We are going to be playing at the Nou Camp, with our fans. But the result is not what we wanted or one that reflected the game."
Goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who was caught out at his near post by Robin Van Persie's fiercely struck equaliser, gave their opponents credit for their comeback.
"We had the game under control, but they took advantage of their chances well. There's still the second leg and we have faith that things will turn out in our favour," he said.
"It's possible in our stadium. We are confident that it will all work out for us."