• Champions League

Navas claims Barcelona are past their best

ESPN staff
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Barcelona v Manchester City preview

Jesus Navas claims Barcelona are weak at set-pieces and vulnerable to counter attacks as Manchester City return to Champions League action in confident mood.

The striker is bullish about their last-16 tie against the Spanish giants which kicks-off on Tuesday with the first-leg at the Etihad Stadium.

"Even the best teams have their weaknesses and Barcelona struggle in set pieces and counter attacks, when they lose the ball in attacking positions," Navas said.

"They won't be happy having to come here. They will find we are a really difficult team to play against and to beat.

"We are playing very well, creating chances scoring a lot of goals. We are full of confidence. The one thing we must do is play with high pressure and high tempo because they have some top-quality players."

Navas, 28, spent a decade playing against Barcelona before his £14.9 million move from Sevilla to City last June and believes they are no longer at their peak.

"Maybe they don't play as well as three or four years ago, but that is normal," he said. "The rivals study the way you play and find a tactic to counteract your strengths.

"The cycles in football don't last forever. It's hard to say because they set the standards so high in the past.

"It is very, very difficult to keep playing with that kind of style year in and year out. But, that said, they are top of La Liga and they are in the final of the Copa del Rey.

It is always difficult to face Barcelona, they always have top-quality players. I remember playing so many times when I was at Seville. We knocked them out of the Copa del Rey once, so that's my main memory. I scored a header against them at home when we drew 1-1.

"We have been training hard and hopefully by preparing for this match well we can go through to the next round."

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