5 things to know about Manchester City F.C.-Barcelona F.C. CL match

Feb 17 2014, 21:05 IST
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''Whoever has the ball for longer will have a better chance to win,'' Martino said. Reuters ''Whoever has the ball for longer will have a better chance to win,'' Martino said. Reuters
SummaryThe players have been encouraged by Martino to vary their attacking strategies with long passes...

the knockout rounds under Roberto Mancini. It's taken the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini to establish City as a European force this season, winning five and losing just once - to holder Bayern Munich - in the group stage.

Pellegrini has Champions League pedigree, steering Villarreal and Malaga into the quarterfinals while managing in Spain.

City remains in contention for silverware on four fronts. It is third in the Premier League - three points behind leader Chelsea with a game in hand - into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup after beating Chelsea F.C. on Saturday and it will contest the League Cup final next month.

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FIRST COMPETITIVE MATCH

A sign of City's lack of top-level European heritage is the fact Manchester United's less-successful neighbors have never played Barcelona F.C. in a competitive match. One of their six friendlies saw Barcelona officially open the Etihad in 2003 when City won.

Eleven years on, thanks to the influx of Abu Dhabi wealth and subsequent success since 2008, City is ready to ready to grow. Planning permission has been granted to expand the venue capacity from almost 48,000 to more to 60,000, anticipating a higher demand from fans.

By contrast, Barcelona F.C. is looking to expand the capacity of the Camp Nou by more than 5,000 seats to 105,000 by 2021.

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CITY'S SPANISH CONNECTIONS

Despite City as a club having no competitive experience of Barcelona F.C., the manager and many of the players have. There are four Spaniards in the squad for Tuesday's game: Javi Garcia, Alvaro Negredo, Navas and David Silva. And Yaya Toure, the force in City's midfield, was signed from Barca.

On top of that, City chief executive Ferran Soriano was a former Barca vice president, and director of football Txiki Begiristain held the same job at Barca after a playing career with the team.

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