- Associated Press - Monday, February 17, 2014

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - As Champions League rallying cries go, Gerard Pique struck an unusually downbeat tone for a Barcelona player - particularly when speaking in the stadium of his team’s opponent Tuesday in the second round of the Champions League: Manchester City.

“Maybe they don’t fear us as before,” Pique said Monday, “because in the last two years we didn’t win the Champions League.”

Uncertainty is seeping into the squad lauded as perhaps the greatest ever, with Champions League titles in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

Such pessimism, though, seems at odds with Barca’s current outlook. The team already has reached the Copa del Rey final and tops the Spanish league on goal difference over Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Lionel Messi has scored 10 goals in 10 games since returning from a two-month injury layoff.