Frank Lampard says City must be switched on from the first moment until the last in both legs against Barcelona.
A veteran of almost 150 European games, Lampard knows what is needed to win this competition and a mix of focus, commitment and the rub of the green is sometimes enough to beat the best the Champions League has to offer.
“When you are up against top sides you obviously have to be aware and study their strengths – that is true of any big game – but Barcelona have a lot more threats than certain other teams,” he said.
“Sometimes you just need an element of luck. At Chelsea there were times when we were fortunate or had to hang on – and there were times when we deserved better luck but didn’t get it. I believe we have so much quality here at City that if we’re at our best, we can beat anyone and we’ll have a great chance of getting through no matter how good Barcelona are.
You have to think about your own strengths and stay focused and while 180 minutes is a long haul – you have to stay focused for every one of those minutes
“You will suffer at times because of the players they have but those are the moments you have to dig that much deeper and stay in the game.
“You can admire and respect them so long as that doesn’t transmit into giving them too much space to do what they do best. I played against Barcelona when they were at their very best four of five years ago and they were absolutely flying – in truth, there’s not much you can do when they play like that – but we have players who can hurt them, too.
“They have an abundance of attacking talent – as do we- so we’ll have to be at our best and defend as well as we want to as a team, I think we’ll create chances as well.”
With a forward line to give even the best defences a sleepless night, Lampard believes the Blues will have to contain Lionel Messi in specific areas of the pitch on Tuesday evening.
“As far as I see it you just can’t give him space in the dangerous areas - we have to close him down, get tight and give him as little room as we can because if you don’t, he can destroy you,” he said.
“Of course, then you have to worry about Luis Suarez, Neymar and everyone else! We all have to be switched on when they have the ball.
I loved watching Suarez play when he was with Liverpool and he’s probably not been easy for him to settle in at Barca because at Anfield he was the main man
“It’s probably been different for him this season but we know what a talent he is and coming back to play in England will give him an added incentive and he will certainly want to step up and show everyone what he’s capable of . He will love it if he gets stick from the fans as well!”
If Manuel Pellegrini calls upon Lampard against Barca the former England man says he is ready and is loving having one last fling with the competition he loves so much.
“I didn’t expect to have any Champions League action this year and didn’t think I’d be playing in the competition again so it’s been brilliant on a personal level and the game against Bayern Munich really gave me the buzz again,” he smiled.
“I played that game from the start and really enjoyed it. It would be brilliant to go as far as possible with City and if we play to our strengths and defend and attack as well as we can, we can definitely go further in this competition.”