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The Argentina international says his side was never in danger against Manchester City and insists it is still in the race for La Liga.

Lionel Messi says Barcelona was back to its best on Wednesday night as it beat Manchester City 2-1 to qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals.

Messi was in fine form throughout the game and opened the scoring in the first half as the Catalan giant defeated Manuel Pellegrini's side in Camp Nou, winning 4-1 on aggregate.

Despite reaching the last eight of club football's most prestigious competition, the Blaugrana have come under a lot of criticism as they have slipped four points behind league leader Real Madrid in La Liga.

Speaking after the game, Messi said Barca deserved the victory against the Premier League club and feels his side's performance was of the level people have come to expect of it in recent years.

"We defeated a very difficult rival," he told Canal+. "After two very serious slip-ups [in the league] when we didn’t play well, today we saw the Barcelona that people expect to see. We played well throughout and achieved our objective of getting through.

“Despite their goal I don't think the tie was ever in danger [from our perspective]. Prior to my goal we were controlling the game and could have scored before. We knew we had to get a goal to calm ourselves down because of the potential they have."

Gerardo Martino's men have won only five of their last 10 games in La Liga but Messi is insistent that his side remain very much in the title race.

"We are the first to criticize ourselves. We know we did not do things like we should have, but that does not mean the league is lost because there is still a lot to play for."