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Xavi says Man Utd star Marcus Rashford is currently ‘one of the most dangerous players’ in Europe.
The Barcelona manager was speaking ahead of his club’s Europa League knockout meeting with the Premier League outfit. Erik ten Hag’s men visit Camp Nou in their first leg clash this evening, with the return leg scheduled for Old Trafford next week.
Xavi singles out ‘dangerous’ Man Utd star
Rashford is in phenomenal form going into the first meeting, with the attacker on 13 goals from his 15 games since the 2022 World Cup ended. The tally is more than any other player in Europe has managed in the same period.
The Man Utd man is also in fine form in this season’s Europa League competition, scoring three goals from his four matches so far. He also has five League Cup goals and one FA Cup goal to his name.
While Xavi is expecting a tough challenge all over the pitch, he has warned his players to keep a particular eye on the England forward.
“In the transition he is very, very dangerous so we need to take care of all of them but especially Rashford,” said Xavi, as per BBC Sport. “He’s one of the most dangerous players now in Europe.”
Barcelona boss praises ‘interesting’ Ten Hag
Xavi was also full of praise for his opposite number, with Ten Hag turning things around at Man Utd in rapid and dramatic fashion.
The Barcelona boss has himself done a fine job in the dugout, taking the Catalan outfit to the top of La Liga. They have an eight-point cushion over rivals Real Madrid after 21 matches.
But the legendary midfielder chose to focus on Ten Hag’s recent success at Old Trafford, with the club currently sitting third in the Premier League table. They have won 14 of their 23 games, and are just five points behind both Man City and Arsenal.
“Ten Hag is a great coach,” said Xavi. “In my mind I believe that somehow [reversing] the situation of United was no easy task and he’s accomplishing it.
“They are excited again, the club, the fanbase and also the way they play does a lot. He changes things offensively, defensively, everyone’s working very well, so it’s a tough rival for us and he’s a very interesting coach.”
Man Utd in for tough test at Camp Nou?
Man Utd will have mixed feelings going into the match against Barcelona, with the Spanish side winning each of the last four meetings in this fixture.
But the Red Devils have won each of their last five matches in Europe, while Barcelona have lost five of their last 11 European matches at Camp Nou. Their previous five such defeats were spread across 101 matches between 2002 and 2020.
Ten Hag’s side have a Premier League fixture against Leicester in between their two clashes with the Spanish giants, with the second game followed immediately by the League Cup final against Newcastle.
Xavi’s men meanwhile host Cadiz in league action in between the two Europa League legs as the Catalan club aim to maintain their lead at the top of La Liga.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 16, 2023
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