Manchester City FC left the Camp Nou not only with a real sense of deflation at failing to win or draw their UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg against FC Barcelona but also with a strong feeling that this bitter experience could fuel their European chances next season.
Having created various intelligent openings during a dramatic match – and forced the save of the game from Víctor Valdés following a second-half header from Edin Džeko – City briefly restored parity on the night through Vincent Kompany's diving volley, only to lose 2-1 on the night and 4-1 overall. Yaya Touré's emotions were divided between disappointment at exiting a second cup competition in five days, after the FA Cup defeat by Wigan Athletic FC, and satisfaction in revisiting his old club.
Yaya Touré, Manchester City midfielder
My return to Barcelona has gone really well, particularly with the 'Culé' supporters. It cost me a great deal [emotionally] to have to play against Barcelona. But I'm really excited about the reaction of the fans. Barça remain a great team, buoyed by the weight of their history. Our task now is to work really hard and ensure that when this test comes around next year we are much, much stronger.
I can't quibble that they [Barcelona] were the better side across the two matches. Without doubt [Lionel] Messi is the best player on the planet. I'd be absolutely delighted to have him at City. Whether Barcelona are good enough to go and win this tournament is difficult to say but, from my point of view, they should certainly be finalists.
Fernandinho, Manchester City midfielder
We were terrific in both halves. We didn't allow Barça much space in which to work – there's no point making things easy for them. Despite a good number of chances the ball wouldn't go in for a long time but we carried on creating opportunities. Our team remains a work in progress, but our vision and bravery are unquestionable. Where we have gained is in terms of experience. With a bit more know-how and a bit more luck next season, we'll be better.
Can Barça win this now? That's hard to judge because there are a number of terrific teams left in the draw. Maybe things look a bit difficult for them to get to the final. Nevertheless they have good players, this is a great team – they'll believe they should be in Lisbon in May.
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