sport

Pedro braced for City test

Barcelona star Pedro has admitted the Catalans would have preferred to avoid Manchester City at this stage of the Champions League.

Pedro is expected to feature in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Etihad on Tuesday night and, while the Premier League title chasers would not have been Barca's first-choice opponents, the Spanish star accepts they have to beat the best teams to win the tournament.

He told Sky Sports: "Really we would have preferred an other rival in the draw but if Barcelona dreams of the final in Lisbon, it is obligatory to beat the big rivals and City is on that list.

"We always plays to our maximum level but perhaps this week we are looking at the most important match of the season.

"Manchester City is a tough rival in its own stadium but we are prepared to play in these venues. I like the atmosphere in England. For me it is an example for other Leagues."

Pedro believes the tie will be decided back in Catalunya, but says they want to score in Manchester.

"Normally this round will be resolved in the Nou Camp but we want a good score in England. Not only a goal but a match of quality."

The 26-year-old also insists Barca will not rely on Lionel Messi in Manchester.

"Messi today is the number one player in world football but the matches are decided by the squad," he said.

"Barca have won matches without Leo but is true that he generates fear in his rivals."

Pedro does believe that Manuel Pellegrini's in-depth knowledge of Spanish football, following his stints with Villarreal, Malaga and Real Madrid, will help City.

"Pellegrini has worked in Spain and so he knows us, which is a advantage for City but it won't be decisive," he said.

"It is also excellent that we will met national colleagues like Silva, Negredo and Navas. We will greet them before match but on the pitch we cannot afford to concede anything to them as they are key players for City."