Match Preview: Manchester United vs Barcelona

Manchester United v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Group H
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: The match ball is seen on the pitch prior to the Group H match of the UEFA Champions League between Manchester United and Juventus at Old Trafford on October 23, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Manchester United host Barcelona at Old Trafford in the most exciting tie of the Champions League quarter-finals.

Marcus Rashford’s 90-minute penalty kick at the Parc des Princes completed a stunning come back for Manchester United in the Round of 16 tie against PSG last month.

The Red Devils turned around a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in five years.

Now they meet Barcelona – their worst Champions League nightmare in the past decade. The Catalans, under Pep Guardiola, managed to beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the Champions League finals back in 2009 and 2011.

Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 on Saturday night to virtually seal a fourth La Liga title in five years, as they moved 11 points clear on the top of the table.

United may be the underdogs in the upcoming clash with Barca, but this is their perfect chance to get revenge for those missed opportunities from eight and 10 years ago.

Team news

Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera were both absent from United’s recent defeat at Wolves but are expected to return for the Champions League clash against the Catalans.

Former Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez is a major doubt for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while defenders Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, and Matteo Darmian are out of the game.

French winger Ousmane Dembele could be available for Ernesto Valverde, as the 21-year old has resumed training after missing the last four games in La Liga with a hamstring injury.

Central midfielder Rafinha, who is out for the rest of the campaign, is the only player unavailable for Barcelona.

What did the managers say

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna visited Camp Nou on Saturday night and attended the game between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

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“There was an incredible team spirit within our dressing room [in 1999],” Solskjaer said via ESPN. “I want my players to get the best out of each other and for them to demand 100 percent from every player.

“That is the only way that you can improve and the only way that you can win things. We had something truly special.

“Now it is a different group and the challenge is trying to make these players as hungry as we were and to turn them into winners.”

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde believes Manchester United are a powerful team, with physically strong players.

“They are a powerful team. They are going through a good run, even if they lost their last match,” he said via Express. “Physically they are really strong and they know how to put pressure on their opponents.

“They have players who are physically very powerful, and they can be dangerous strategically as well. This match is a classic in European football. Barcelona have never won at Old Trafford I believe and we are going to try and change that.”

Stats

Manchester United are unbeaten in the last four home games against the Catalan giants, winning two and drawing two.

Barcelona have been knocked out in the Champions League quarter-finals in four of the last five seasons, losing to Atletico Madrid twice, Juventus and Roma.

United’s record in Champions League/European Cup quarter-finals stands at 12 wins and six defeats.

Barcelona have a better head-to-head record with four wins, four draws and three defeats in 11 games against the Red Devils.

Solskjaer’s side has lost three of the last four games across all competitions – it is his worst run since his appointment as Manchester United manager.