Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano is dismissive of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger's claims that the Gunners would have won had Robin van Persie not been dismissed in the second half. But Mascherano believes Barca were worthy victors and pointed to the statistics to back up his case - Arsenal failed to register a shot all night and had significantly less possession of the ball.

"Wenger has every right to his opinion, but the statistics say that it would have been very unfair if we hadn't qualified having not received a single shot on goal," Mascherano was quoted as saying by Marca.

"It was unusual that it was 1-1 without them having had a shot. Wenger knows how the game was, it's tough to lose and nobody likes to be knocked out."

He added pointedly: "Barca always win due to the referee, never because of their play, not because they had 19 shots on goal, or for having 74% of the possession or completing 900 passes...

"Let's not be hypocrites. We didn't allow them to breathe, that was the key. We played like Barca and that's why we qualified."

The former Liverpool man added: "I'm proud of how the team stayed true to their philosophy during the game.

"At times when teams have to force the win they lose their identity, but it wasn't like that. It could have been 5-1 or 6-1 because we had very clear goalscoring chances."