"I liked everything about Barcelona from the very beginning," said Luis Enrique after the 2-0 win against Arsenal, Arsène Wenger insisting there is no shame in losing to a better team.
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- Two second-half goals from Lionel Messi earn Barcelona 2-0 last 16 first-leg win at Arsenal
- Arsène Wenger: "They always can kill you when you think you're on top"
- Luis Enrique: "I liked everything about Barcelona tonight"
- Arsenal have exited at this stage in each of last five seasons
- Second leg takes place at Camp Nou on 16 March
Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
I liked everything about Barcelona from the very beginning. I liked the way we scored, we had plenty of possession and in the first half we managed to have a lot of the ball. Arsenal defended with every player in their own half but we still managed to trouble them. In the second half they pressed a bit higher and we managed to stop the transitions, that's how we decided the game in our favour.
Everyone who knows football knows that you have to have a first half like that so you can have a second half like we did. Arsenal are very good in helping each other collectively and obviously we needed to stop their transitions.
Arsenal are one of the best teams in the world when it comes to transitions and I felt my players performed perfectly and were deserved winners. The result is really good but obviously nothing is decided yet, we will have to play really well in front of our fans in order to go through.
I think that Arsenal in the second half tried to press a bit higher but we managed to deal with that pressure really well. It's important to have lots of resources and we are one of the best sides when it comes to playing against a really tight defence.
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Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
Barcelona are a great team. We put a lot of energy into the game and technically we were very average. The regret I had was that just as we looked like we could dominate the game, we gave the goal away. It was similar with Monaco last season, naive, and that is frustrating.
We knew we couldn't afford to give them counterattacks and that is exactly what we did. It is too easy to issue blame – you have to respect the effort. They always can kill you when you think you're on top.
Realistically it will be very, very difficult, if not impossible. We have to go there and fight. We had chances tonight, we didn't score. They are better than us, there is no shame, they are European champions and that is no coincidence.
Barcelona are through 95% of the way but we want to go there and play. We are Arsenal and we want to go out there and play, we have absolutely no chance but everyone is focused now on the next game. It's a shame the players have got no satisfaction tonight because energy wise they put absolutely everything in to it.
It's difficult to dent [Barcelona's aura] because they are European and world champions. I feel there was room to beat them tonight, that is the biggest regret I have. Sometimes you can lose, but tonight there was room to beat them.