Barcelona v Man. United preview: all you need to know

0
Lionel Messi (m) speaks to Gerard Pique during a training session ahead of their second leg in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match against Manchester United at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

After five exhausting games in 15 days, Ernesto Valverde prepared for this second leg by fielding youth and fringe players against Huesca at the weekend. Gerard Piqué and Luis Suárez were suspended, while Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi, Sergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitić were rested. Full-strength Barça against United? It’s possible. Ousmane Dembélé is back, fit, and played in that Huesca match. Game on, and time for the Spanish champions to seal passage to the semi-finals.

Possible line-ups

First leg: Man. United 0-1 Barcelona

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitić, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé 
Out: Rafinha (knee)
Doubtful: Vermaelen (hamstring)
Misses next match if booked: Busquets, Semedo

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Smalling, Young; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Martial
Out: Bailly (concussion), Herrera (thigh), Shaw (suspended), Valencia (calf)
Misses next match if booked: Herrera, Matić, Valencia, Young

Key battle

Sergio Busquets v Paul Pogba: United have to score and they signed Paul Pogba for just these situations – however, Busquets helped keep him quiet in the first leg and has plenty of experience finishing off these ties against the best of oppositions.

After their winner at Old Trafford, Barcelona have now benefited from a joint-record 14 own goals in the UEFA Champions League.

Paul Pogba’s two penalties against West Ham took him to seven spot kicks for the Premier League season, one off Ruud van Nistelrooy’s club record from 2002/03.

Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona coach

“There’s no fear, just huge excitement. We’re all aware that we have a very tough game ahead of us if we want to reach the semi-finals.

“We’re aware of Manchester United’s strengths. We know we can’t let it become a game with chance after chance; we have to close off any space. If they get space to run into, they’re good. “Obviously we’ll try to stop them scoring and score ourselves. Our priority is to score, not to go out thinking we have an advantage.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Man. United manager

“The 1999 final is a fantastic memory. The last time I was on the pitch here was the only time. I don’t look back on that night too often; I’m just looking forward to seeing if we can play better against Barcelona. We are now 1-0 down at half-time, but if it is a game with many goals in it we stand a bigger chance.

“If we keep a clean sheet, we’re in the tie. We know we can score goals from set pieces – we’re bigger than them – but we have to defend well. I don’t mind if the goal comes in the 93rd minute. We have to be fitter and keep going.”

Source: Graham Hunter, UEFA.com

SHARE