“If a team can score four times against us, we can score six times against them.”
Luis Enrique had been defiant beforehand and his belief that theremontada was possible was vindicated in spectacular fashion in the Nou Camp as a Champions League tie that had looked finished in France came alive in Catalonia. It was one of the great European nights.
Barcelona are the first side in the competition’s history to overturn a four-goal deficit from the first leg, their 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain featuring three dramatic late goals. Even Manchester United did not need that many to make history there in 1999.
In the aftermath, midfielder Ivan Rakitic compared it to the New England Patriots’ amazing come-from-behind Super Bowl win last month and pundits everywhere racked their brains to work out where to rank the result in the pantheon of sport’s great turnaround triumphs.
But perhaps the really remarkable thing about the evening was that the comeback felt distinctly possible from the outset. “Si, se pueda,” was the message from the stands - yes, we can - and Enrique’s own assessment of what would be required proved accurate.
“I don’t have the feeling that we need the best game since I got here,” he had said. The logic was sound enough. After all, Barcelona had seen off both Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo by five clear goals in their previous two fixtures in the stadium. This required more of the same.
What’s fascinating is that less than a month ago there could have been no faith whatsoever that Enrique’s Barcelona were capable of coming up with such a result. That 4-0 reverse in Paris was no fluke. It was a deserved defeat and could have been far worse.
So what has changed since then?
First and foremost, the mood around the club appears altogether more relaxed. Enrique’s decision to announce his summer departure immediately following the win over his old club Sporting drained much of the tension that had surrounded his future.
Furthermore, the introduction of Rafinha in a wide-right role also strengthens Barca defensively because opponents are less able to run off him than when Lionel Messi was nominally stationed there.
With the Argentine now operating more centrally he has the opportunity to do more damage to the opposition and less harm to his own side.
As it happened, Messi showed plenty of neat touches and dispatched his penalty emphatically enough but he was not the architect of this comeback. Luis Suarez headed home the first goal but he too could not claim ownership of the victory.
Of the superstar trio, it was Neymar who did most to make the miracle happen, scoring two goals and winning a penalty before showing impressive composure to loft a pass into the path of Sergi Roberto with the final chance of the tie.
But this was a win for the team - one that has regained its focus. The pressing and purpose was back.
Of course, it was facilitated by PSG’s edginess and lethargy, the French side seemingly paralysed by fear in the first half and overcome by the home side late on.
Following the 4-0 defeat, Andres Iniesta spoke of “clear ideas” being lacking. Sergio Busquets even suggested that the Barcelona players had been surprised by the intensity of their opponents. But in the second leg it was PSG who appeared shell-shocked.