Guardiola thrilled with away win
A satisfied Pep Guardiola hailed his Barcelona team after their 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.
An Alexis Sanchez brace and a goal from Lionel Messi helped the European champions to the round-of-16 first-leg win at BayArena.
Guardiola, whose team have slipped 10 points adrift of Real Madrid in La Liga, said he was happy with his side's performance in Germany.
"In the art of competing, my team showed they are doing well. This is the Champions League and we came to Germany to face a team that practically eliminated Valencia, and we all know about (the quality of) Valencia," Guardiola said.
"We are very satisfied with what we have done here tonight. We are a little bit closer to getting into the draw for the quarter-finals."
Michal Kadlec briefly levelled proceedings in the second half, but Sanchez restored his team's advantage before Messi struck late on.
Guardiola praised Sanchez and Messi, and said the latter was dealing well with the goalscoring expectations he carries.
"As a player I hardly ever scored so I can't speak from experience, but I imagine goalscorers need to score," he said.
"Messi has no problems dealing with these things though. He scored a really wonderful goal and was involved in many moves. He's continuing to show his strength which for us is vital."
"Alexis is putting in a lot of work and is scoring a lot. He opens up the pitch for us and his movement is great. I'm very happy for him. He's a very humble guy."
Barcelona's Daniel Alves felt his side deserved to win, although he praised Leverkusen's organisation and second-half effort.
"The truth is that we deserved to win," Alves said.
"We weren't as fluent because in front of us, we had a team who were well organised on the pitch. In the second half they looked the more dangerous side and created chances to score. We just took our opportunities."
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt refused to concede the tie was over despite heading to the Camp Nou with a 3-1 deficit.
The hosts were on the back foot for the majority of the first half, before working their way into the contest after the interval.
"During the break I asked my players to take the initiative and participate in the match. In the second half, we caused Barcelona problems," Dutt said.
"For 15 minutes, we were the better team and played some really good football. For the match at the Camp Nou, normally we wouldn't have a chance but you never know."
"A few years ago I watched Barcelona beat Basel (5-0) in Switzerland, but they drew 1-1 in the second game in Spain, so anything is possible."
Leverkusen defender Gonzalo Castro said it was a great experience to play against the Catalan giants.
"It was very special," Castro said. "I think they are the best team in the world, they proved it in the last two or three years and they have won everything in the club competitions."