Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola declared his side had beaten “the best team in the world” following their 3-1 Champions League victory over Barcelona.
City were beaten 4-0 at Camp Nou last month but put in a confident second-half performance to clinch three points that draws them within two of Group C leaders Barca.
Lionel Messi fired the visitors in front at the Etihad Stadium, before Ilkay Gundogan equalised as City capitalised on a loose Sergi Roberto pass across the defence.
A bright start to the second period preceded a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick that gave Guardiola’s men the lead over the manager’s former club, before Gundogan wrapped up the win with his second of the match.
And, while Guardiola conceded his players had endured a difficult start, he praised the attitude of his players after pulling level.
“Our performance 11 against 11 in Barcelona was much better than the first 38 minutes here,” he said.
“In the first 38 minutes we saw the best team in the world. We were in really big trouble. When Barcelona had the chance to score the second goal the game would have been finished.
“But football is like this, like when Fernandinho slipped and Messi scored in Barcelona.
“Our goal changed the game. Our players realised the bad moment in the game was over.
“In the second half we were compact, we made good high pressing and won a lot of balls with our high pressing. Also we defended with low blocks and used our counter-attack against them.”
City ended a six-game winless run with a 4-0 victory over West Brom on Saturday and Guardiola is delighted to see his players moving in the right direction.
“Considering our situation with the short time we’ve had together, against the best team in the world and our position in the group, our victory is so important,” he added.
“We have one more game to win to go into [the next round in] February and I hope in February we will be better. Gladbach’s draw [with Celtic] gives us a bit of breathing space.
“We’re lucky that if we get through we won’t get Barca in the next round.”
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