Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has heaped pressure on Manchester City ahead of tonight's Champions League last-16 clash, after claiming that the Barcelona side they are facing are the worst they've been in "many many years", reports BBC Sport.
The former Real Madrid boss laid into his old foes, who have failed to progress past the semi-final stage of Europe's elite club competition since last winning it in 2011, and believes that Manuel Pellegrini's team have a good chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.
"City have a chance," said Mourinho, in an interview with ITV. "Of course by history Barcelona is the favourite, but this Barcelona, this season, is showing that it is not the same in previous years.
"Of course, they have [Lionel] Messi - he is special - and they have more than him. But I think this is the worst Barcelona of many, many years."
Gerard Pique admitted in the pre-match press conference that Tata Martino's team perhaps don't possess the same fear factor they had in recent years, but insists that the Catalan club are still capable of producing world-class performances.
Barcelona's most recent Champions League successes came under former coach Pep Guardiola, but the Spanish giants were humbled after losing 7-0 in a two-legged semi-final against eventual winners Bayern Munich last season, under the former stewardship of Tito Vilanova.
By contrast, Manchester City have qualified for the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in their history under Pellegrini's guidance, and all eyes will be on Tuesday's game after Martino talked his opponents up as one of the best teams in world football.
Meanwhile, Chelsea return to European action next week when Mourinho's men take on Super Lig giants Galatasaray in Turkey, before the return leg at Stamford Bridge, which is scheduled for Tuesday 18 March.
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