Champions League: Jesus Navas feels Manchester City can handle Barcelona
Jesus Navas says a two-legged tie with Barcelona holds no fear for Manchester City as they chase Champions League glory.
Last Updated: 17/02/14 11:06am
City will get the opportunity to put down a European marker on Tuesday when Barca travel to the Etihad Stadium for the first instalment of their last-16 showdown.
The Catalan giants have conquered the continent on four previous occasions and boast some of the most feared creative influences in global football within their ranks.
Navas, though, claims Barca are no longer the force they were during Pep Guardiola's time in charge and feels City - who are gracing the knockout stage for the first time - will pose as many problems to their midweek opponents as they have to solve.
The Spain international said in the Daily Express: "Maybe they are not playing as well as three or four years ago. The cycles in football do not last forever.
"Barca have set such high standards that it is very, very difficult to keep playing with that kind of style year in, year out. Your rivals study the way you play and find a tactic to counteract your strengths.
"They will not be looking forward to coming to Manchester.
"Our manager knows them very well and I think this could be a very important advantage.
"They will find we are a really difficult team to play against and beat. We are playing very well, creating chances and scoring a lot of goals. It is important that we enjoy ourselves and play the way we usually do.
"True, it didn't work against Bayern Munich at home in the group stages but that wasn't one of our best performances. They scored very early on and that made things very difficult for us.
"But you have to bear in mind that in the return in Munich, we played very well after going behind and won playing our own style of football. So I am confident we can beat Barcelona at home.
"The tie will not be decided on Tuesday, but in Barcelona. It is 180 minutes."
Navas added: "The one thing we must do is play with high pressure and high tempo. We really have to put pressure on them, maintain the concentration at all times and take the chances.
"Even the best teams have their weaknesses and Barcelona struggle at set pieces and counter-attacks, when they lose the ball in attacking positions."