Quique Setien believes Robert Lewandowski is among the best players in the world but refuted claims that the Polish striker is as good as Leo Messi.
Barcelona are set to face Bayern Munich in the quarter finals of the Champions League on Friday, and much of the pre-match talk surrounds each side’s top goalscorers.
“[Lewandowski] is a great player, but I think he is not at Leo’s level,” he said during his press conference.
“I think that is clear. It is true that he is in great form and that he is very well assisted by many teammates around him.
“He is in great shape, but Leo is as well, as we already saw against Napoli.
“It’s good that these players will be on the field and we can enjoy them.”
Beyond Lewandowski, Bayern are currently in flying form and Setien appears to be well aware of it.
“We know the potential of the opponents,” he stated.
“We will try to minimise their strengths. They are potentially extraordinary, but so are we.
“I think it will be an even game, with alternatives for both. We have a lot to say in this game.”
It has been suggested that Barcelona could line up with an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation but Setien wasn’t keen on giving too much away.
“We have considered many things, but we will not be able to see them until tomorrow,” he said.
“Perhaps the formation is not so important. We are clear about the talent and speed that this team [Bayern] has, especially in attack.
“When they have the ball, we will have no choice but to defend. However, I think it will always be better to try to keep the ball and hurt them as much as possible.”
“We are concerned about many aspects because they are capable of retreating and defending.
“It remains to be seen if we can get out of that press. I think it will be a game with alternatives. There will not be a clear dominator.
“The team that takes their chances will be the one who goes through. I expect a fairly close tie.”
Asked if Messi will be the one to carry Barcelona through.
“He can help, but I believe in the strength of the team,” he said.
“Leo must also be assisted. He can create goals, but without the strength of the team, Leo would be less effective, like any other player.”
Ousmane Dembele has been training with his teammates over the course of the past week, giving hope that he could feature.
“It is satisfying to have Dembele already in the squad,” Setien stated.
“He will be able to participate if we consider it appropriate.
“He has gone almost a year without playing, but we hold hope that he can participate and do so in a good way.”