Manuel Pellegrini: One club in Manchester this season, and City will attack Barcelona
Manuel Pellegrini says Manchester City will attack Barcelona and are the leading club in Manchester this season.
Last Updated: 17/02/14 9:25pm
Pellegrini was in combative mood as he addressed the press on the eve of a UEFA Champions League last-16 tie which provides the latest opportunity for City to underline their credentials as one of Europe's elite teams.
The City manager has been on the wrong end of Barca's brilliance in the past, losing out on the Spanish title in 2010 despite taking Real Madrid to a then-record points total.
But City average three-and-a-half goals a game at home in this season's Premier League, and Pellegrini is not about to alter his attacking style for Tuesday's first leg.
He said: "When you play against Barcelona, against important teams, you always must consider important things.
"But I think the most important thing is to try to be the same team that you are seeing every week here in the Premier League.
"That for me is very important, to continue having the style of play, to continue having the personality to try to beat Barcelona.
"You cannot play without considering that in front you have Lionel Messi, you have other important players. But we are not going to play just thinking of defending and not thinking of what we can do with the ball."
Pellegrini was asked where victory over Barca would leave City's rivalry with Manchester United, who remain in the Champions League but are 15 points off the top of the Premier League in David Moyes' first season.
He gave a qualified endorsement of City's current status, saying: "If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester and it's ours, but you cannot forget what United has done in the previous years.
"We are aiming to keep growing by winning many trophies, not just national but international trophies. We are fighting for four titles this year.
"We have to be patient because you cannot change the team from one day to another. We have to keep the philosophy of the style and for that you need time."
City are lifted by the potential return of midfielder Fernandinho after a fortnight out with a muscle strain.
The Brazilian has trained ahead of the match and looks set to resume his impressive midfield partnership with Yaya Toure.
Toure's performances in Fernandinho's absence were the subject of scrutiny but Pellegrini feels any criticism was unfair.
He said: "Yaya is a very important player for us.
"I have listened to some questions about the way he plays and Yaya plays the way I want him to play.
"He stayed only defending against Norwich because we did not have another defensive midfielder, but I think we lost an important midfielder attacking. He scores a lot of goals and gives a lot of creativity to our team.
"Playing with Javi Garcia or Fernandinho is the way I want him to play, so he is free and can give us a lot of offensive moments.
"But he knows also he has to defend and he can do it without any problems."
On the downside for City, top scorer Sergio Aguero remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.