Manchester City should not fear their Champions League challenge in Barcelona despite losing the first leg at the Etihad on Tuesday night, says captain Vincent Kompany.
City may have lost 2-1 after Luis Suarez did much of the damage in the first half with a double strike, but many of the City players have all expressed their hope of a surprise victory on Spanish soil, particularly after Joe Hart saved Lionel Messi’s injury-time penalty.
Kompany said: “It was a bad first half but definitely we were very hopeful at the start of the second half.
“That is what we should look at and say is what we need to do when we go and play them over there. Of course there is hope. We were due some luck and Harty is a top goalkeeper. He did what he had to do and we have hope.”
City were second best for much of the contest but after pulling one back through Sergio Aguero, and surviving the sending off of Gael Clichy, there are many positives for Manuel Pellegrini’s men to focus on.
City had players sent off in both legs when they met the Spanish side at the same stage last year, in a tie they lost 4-1 on aggregate.
Kompany added: “You want to play games with 11 men. It has been happening a lot for us. Really what we need to try to do is finish a game with 11 men and see how that goes.”
Spanish playmaker David Silva, who set up Aguero’s goal, is also hopeful the tie can be retrieved, although he admitted their opponents dominated for the
majority of the game.
The 29-year-old said: “If we play like we did in the second half, we can go through, but we have to get better.
“In the first half, we weren’t good – they were much better. They were much more cohesive than us on the pitch, picking up all the loose balls. Until the goal we were in it but once they scored we were bad.
“Second half, though, we got better. We had chances to equalise but once the red card came, we couldn’t do more.”
Defender Pablo Zabaleta, sent off in the 2-1 loss at the Nou Camp last March, echoed those sentiments.
The Argentina right-back said: “We were looking for a better result but if you look at the performance of the whole game, 2-1 is a good result. They weren’t much better than us.
“In the first half they created a lot of chances, we were giving the ball away too cheaply but I think we improved in the second half, where we were more aggressive, more intent. We created a few chances to score goals.
“I think the performance in the second half is what we have to do from the beginning in the second game. When you are not aggressive enough against those teams it is really hard, they have fantastic players who can make a difference at any time.”