There really isn’t any easy break for Manchester United. After pulling off the dramatic second leg win against Paris Saint Germain to qualify for the quarter-final of the Champions League, Lionel Messi and his hordes await for what could be a really tough experience.
If it does seem like I have handed Barcelona the advantage, it is because they do.
Barcelona with five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi, are a huge force that will require more than what Manchester United currently have in their arsenal to stop.
When asked of how he plans to deal with Messi’s threat, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put some faith in his defenders stepping up to the plate.
“What kind of plan can you have to stop one of the best players in the world?”
“[Luis] Suarez and Messi will keep our defenders on our toes tomorrow.
“There are two teams that do carry goal threats. There are some fantastic attacking players on display but there are defenders with absolute quality.”
“[Messi] is a fantastic player. And he will go down in history as one of the best individual players ever. I have to say – he will be difficult to stop but it’s never impossible.”
Chris Smalling, who will form the core of the defence that lines up against Messi and Suarez at the Old Trafford, said facing Messi is something to relish.
“This season, we have been lucky enough to face [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Kylian] Mbappe and they are all challenges that I definitely relish and I think players at this club relish.
“I say bring it on.”
Manchester United are currently having a poor patch with three losses in their last four competitive games, despite the poor run, Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that confidence is high in the squad.
Though United have the formidable counter-attacking quality of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial alongside the return of midfielder Paul Pogba in their favour, the prognosis remains bleak.
Barcelona are in supreme form, unbeaten in 16 games across all competitions while their talisman and captain Messi currently has 43 goals in 40 games this season including eight in the Champions League.
Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, understands the need to dig deeper than they have with the quality of their opponents.
“Every game is the biggest game. Of course, when you get Barcelona, with the quality of their team, we know we need to step up our game,” Solskjaer said.
“We know we need to perform to our best levels, which we didn’t against PSG at home. The outcome of the second leg gave players and supporters belief. When we saw it was Barcelona in the draw we were smiling because it was another challenge and we will go head on.”