Lionel Messi has hailed the performance of Barcelona after they secured their passage to the Champions league quarter-finals with a confident two-legged victory over Manchester City.
The La Liga club have had their fair share of critics this year after troubles both on and off the pitch, and they were worsened following the Neymar saga and the recent 1-0 shock defeat against Real Valladolid.
Three defeats in six Primera division matches has put Gerardo Martino's side under pressure and in the build-up to the second-leg against Manchester city, there was an expectation they could continue their poor run on form.
But the Catalan giants' 2-1 win at Camp Nou confirmed their progress to the last eight with a 4-1 aggregate win and despite recent results, Messi is confident his side are back to their best.
"We were coming off two very serious setbacks away from home (at Real Sociedad and Valladolid), but more so for the performances than for the results." he said, according to Sky Sports.
"Here we've returned to be the Barcelona that we want, that the fans expect."
As the La Liga champions compete for the coveted title with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, their recent form has seen them fall four points behind the former.
However Messi, who scored in both legs against Manchester City and is returning to form after a spell out through injury, has hit back and critics and is confident they can retain the league trophy.
"I don't know if the criticism was exaggerated or not. We're the first to be self-critical and we know we haven't done things well, we know when we've done badly," the Argentina ace added.
"We lost the opportunity to continue being close to Real Madrid, but the league isn't lost whatsoever. There's a long way to go."
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