Pep Guardiola has called on Barcelona to defeat AC Milan in their next Champions League tie and secure top spot in Group H of the competition.

 

Barca defeated Plzen 4-0 last night, with Lionel Messi adding a hat-trick to take his goal tally to over 200 for the Catalan giants.

 

And now, as the side look to continue their successful form, Guardiola insists that the work isn’t over for Barcelon, even though the side have now qualified for the knockout stages.

 

"The most important thing is that we're through to the next phase and evidently in our next game against AC Milan we'll be fighting for top spot in the group,” he said.

“We're very satisfied to be in the next round with a couple of games to spare. European competition isn't easy, especially at this stage of the season.

“It's normal that you can underestimate opponents but at this level it takes a lot of effort [to win]. Just look at Milan tonight playing away at BATE [1-1 draw].

“It's always hard and I have to admit that in the past, Kazan and Kyiv were great learning curves for me.”

Guardiola singled out Messi for special praise in the aftermath of the 4-0 win, saying that the midfielder’s statistics for Barca speak for themselves as he keeps reaching higher heights.

“We have to congratulate Leo [Messi] for once again scoring goals,” Guardiola said. “He has scored his 202nd goal [for Barcelona] at just 24 years of age, which says it all really.

“I am convinced he will beat Cesar Rodríguez's club record [of 235] but I don't know if he'll do it this season; it depends on how we do in the rest of the campaign but you can't rule it out.”

But Guardiola insisted that the side are no one man team, a fact proven after a mammoth eight Barcelona players were nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

He told reporters: “As coaches, we are here to help players like him and others. I tried to move him closer to the area when I arrived at the club; I knew I had to put him in the centre.

“[Messi] is also conscious that without his team-mates and the people around him none of this would be possible.”

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#European News
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#UEFA Champions League