Lionel Messi believes FC Barcelona are "in a position to be able to achieve almost anything" this season and has called on his team-mates to "play like we always do" despite taking a 4-0 lead into their decider in Munich.
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Lionel Messi has called on FC Barcelona to "play like we always do", despite the Spanish Liga leaders taking a four-goal advantage into their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at FC Bayern München on Tuesday.
The mercurial Argentinian forward was instrumental as the Catalan side burst into a two-goal lead after just 12 minutes at the Camp Nou last week, opening the scoring before creating a second for Samuel Eto'o. The 21-year-old then added another before having a hand in his side's fourth in a breathless first half which has left Bayern's hopes hanging by a thread. For Messi, however, there is no question of Barcelona compromising the principles which have brought them within touching distance of the semi-finals.
"We want to play in the same way we always do – trying to win," said the competition's leading scorer, with eight strikes under his belt. "We want to dominate possession and try to create opportunities. We know that we have built up a great advantage, but that hasn't changed the game itself. We'll try to score an early goal to put pressure on Bayern because we have to focus on our strengths. We have to play with the same mentality we had in Barcelona. We're able to sweep forward and create danger. It's important to go on to the pitch with the right attitude."
While Bayern coach Jürgen Klinsmann virtually wrote off his team's chances in the immediate aftermath of their defeat in Catalonia, the German titleholders' recent European adventures suggest there is some room for optimism. Under Ottmar Hitzfeld last season, Bayern were on the verge of a UEFA Cup quarter-final exit to another Spanish side, Getafe CF, only for a last-gasp Franck Ribéry strike to force extra time before Luca Toni scored twice in the final five minutes to earn his team a semi-final spot in unlikely circumstances.
'Anything is possible'
"There have been plenty of examples like this in the past, so we have been warned," said Messi. "We shouldn't believe that everything has been decided already. Bayern are a good team with good players in each position. You always want to do what you have to do to the best of your abilities. You always want to win. We won't go into the game trying to defend a result. We don't want to give them the ball. We want to dictate things, because we can play and we're in a position to be able to achieve almost anything with this team."