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Manchester United take on Barcelona tomorrow night in the second leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie. After playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw in the Nou Camp last week, both teams will be looking forward to going at it again at Old Trafford tomorrow night.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag was full of praise for Barcelona. He said:
“When you face such big teams as Barcelona you have to play your best, otherwise you don’t have a chance. Tomorrow we have to give our best performance of the season. We believe it and are looking forward to it.
“We have the opportunity to win trophies this season but the first focus point is always the next game. We can’t win the Europa League trophy this week. We have to keep in the same mindset that every day we want to give a better version of ourselves.”
After the first leg, Ten Hag and his players were open about the fact that they felt they should have won the game and they will be keen to ensure they finish Barcelona off if similar opportunities arise in the second leg.
Ten Hag is only interested in trophies
When it was put to the Dutchman that United had perhaps not received enough credit this season, Ten Hag insisted that he didn’t care about credit and was only interested in trophies. With his side still battling on four fronts, there is every chance that they will get their hands on some silverware before the season ends in May.
Their first opportunity comes on Sunday when they take on Newcastle United at Wembley for the Carabao Cup. The Red Devils will go into the match as favourites after Nick Pope got himself sent off in Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last week. It means that the England goalkeeper will be unavailable for selection on Sunday.
Ten Hag won’t be looking at that game yet, however, with his full focus on Barcelona and the challenges they pose. The Spanish side could welcome Sergio Busquets back into the starting eleven after the experienced midfielder missed the first leg with an injury.
His return to the squad will be a huge boost to Xavi who will be without Gavi and Pedri due to suspension and injury respectively.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Erik ten Hag having dinner together this evening [@OliverCritchlo1] pic.twitter.com/KiLgxplcwb
— utdreport (@utdreport) February 21, 2023
A pre-match meal with Sir Alex
Ten Hag has kicked off a massive week for the club by going out for a dinner with Sir Alex Ferguson. The 81-year-old knows a thing or two about winning trophies and is United’s most successful manager of all time. Speaking about his decision to go out with the Scot, Ten Hag said:
“I always enjoy speaking with people who have a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience. He wants to share; he wants to help and support. You feel that Manchester United is his club. He feels so committed and he wants us to do well. It was a great night and I look forward to the next night with him.”