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City starting to prove themselves in Europe, just like Ferguson’s United | Paul Wilson

Pep Guardiola sowed the seeds for this performance in the first half in the Camp Nou a fortnight earlier, and the landmark victory over Barcelona showed his side are ready to establish themselves at Europe’s top table

People laughed at the idea that Manchester City played well in their first game against Barcelona two weeks ago. But they lost 4-0, it was pointed out. They ended up with 10 men. They handed Lionel Messi his latest Champions League hat-trick on a plate. All true, yet City did play well in the Camp Nou, between their various defensive mishaps they showed a willingness to get at Barcelona and make chances, and if that was a sign of a new tenacity under Pep Guardiola it came to full fruition when Messi and his team were vanquished at the Etihad.

Perhaps vanquished is an over-dramatic word for a 3-1 victory that could have been narrower – although with better finishing City could easily have hit four or five – but when you have played the same opponents six times in the past three years and lost the first five the eventual breakthrough victory is bound to be cathartic.

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