After a dominant display by Barcelona against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Spanish international midfielder Cesc Fabregas aimed a dig at Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for his pre-match comments, per ESPN.
The Catalan giants beat City 2-0 playing in their classical style of dominating possession and squeezing their opponents' territory.
It was a complete Barcelona performance on Tuesday night—the team completed no less than 780 successful passes, compared to the Premier League side's 306, per Squawka.
After the game, ESPN quoted Fabregas' interview with ITV where he said:
We had a great result tonight. The fans put so much pressure on and that's what makes this so win special. We had a point to prove, and we did it very well. Some people were talking a bit too much before the game and now they have to shut up for a few days. You never know in football, but in three weeks we will have to play very, very well.
Even though Fabregas did not refer to Mourinho by name, it is easy to translate the meaning behind his words. The Portuguese manager's former affiliations with Real Madrid means his words still seem to warrant some comment from the Barcelona camp.
As reported by BBC Sport before the match, Mourinho had been quoted saying to ITV:
Of course by history Barcelona is the favourite, but this Barcelona, this season, is showing that it is not the same [as] 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.
Fabregas obviously felt the need to reply to this damning assessment by the "Special One." The Daily Telegraph's Ben Rumsby commented on Twitter about Fabregas' words:
Lol. Fabregas telling Mourinho to shut up. Jose really winds people up.— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) February 18, 2014
On Tuesday night, Barcelona proved Mourinho wrong with their systematic destruction of City. If this is a side in decline, then the majority of Europe are still nowhere near the performance levels they can reach.
Fabregas and company showed how to dominate an excellent team who freely score goals at home without having to park the bus.
You can still play attractive football and keep a clean sheet.
City looked like an inexperienced European team during the tie, and they appear to have already given away their chances of progressing to the quarterfinals of a tournament they are desperate to do well in.
The Nou Camp will be an incredibly hostile environment for them to play their natural game in, but there is little doubt they will need to produce something special to have any chance of edging past their opponents.
Barcelona cannot be discarded in the Champions League this year, and they could exact revenge for last year's humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the semifinal. They are coming into form at just the right time, and their undoubted quality could easily see them once again reign as the kings of European football.
People should fear this Barcelona team. With Neymar on the bench, their depth is simply incredible.