UEFA QF: Man United vs Barcelona – Preview

UEFA QF: Man United vs Barcelona: United are hopeful Marcus Rashford will be fit to play Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

Rashford missed United’s previous Premier League game, a 2-1 defeat to Wolves last week, with an ankle injury.

But the England striker trained on Tuesday before the game at Old Trafford, initially on his own before joining up with the rest of the squad.

“Hopefully he will be ready,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

“He needed extra warm-up and hopefully he won’t get a reaction.

“He joined part of it at the end but he couldn’t join the fun part of training.”

Midfielder Nemanja Matic, who was an unused substitute in the Wolves defeat because of injury, did not train but Solskjaer says said he still hopes the Serb will be fit.

However, he said fellow midfielder Andre Herrera is “probably out” while forward Alexis Sanchez. who has missed United’s past five matches, will not feature against Barcelona despite returning to training.

United reached the quarter-finals by dramatically overturning a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Paris St-Germain but since then, Solskjaer’s side have won one and lost three of their four matches since.

That run followed just one defeat in Solskjaer’s first 17 games, having been named caretaker-manager on 19 December.

But the Norwegian, who was appointed permanently on 28 March, says “confidence is high” in the squad.

Man United vs Barcelona

“With the result and what we did against PSG and how we climbed the table, clawing back points, the players have given themselves and the supporters great confidence and belief we can do this.” Solskjaer said.

“Of course you lose games, we lost a couple we should have won, Wolves in the FA Cup is the one we are disappointed with, but we won a couple we should have done.

“Now we have learned from that PSG game, players have talked about it, how we were dragged into making fouls, how European football is, we have got to be more patient with their tackles, some of these players have tricks up their sleeve.”

Possible line-ups

Man. United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelöf, Shaw; Matić, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Martial
Out: Bailly (concussion), Darmian (unknown), Sánchez (knee), Valencia (fitness)
Doubtful: Herrera (unknown), Matić (unknown), Rashford (ankle)
Misses next match if booked: Herrera, Matić, Shaw, Valencia, Young

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

Match facts

Head-to-head

  • This is the first Champions League meeting between Barcelona and Manchester United since the 2011 final, which Barcelona won 3-1 at Wembley.
  • Manchester United have never lost a home European match against Barcelona (W2 D2 L0), with this the first meeting between the sides at Old Trafford since the second leg of the 2007-08 Champions League semi-final, a 1-0 win for the Reds.

Manchester United

  • Manchester United have won two of their past 11 Champions League knockout ties (W2 D3 L6), failing to win either of their quarter-final games in the 2013-14 season under David Moyes against Bayern Munich.
  • Striker Romelu Lukaku scored with both of his shots in a 3-1 away win over PSG in the last 16 – he had failed to score with any of his previous eight shots in the Champions League this season. The Belgian has scored with his past three shots in the Champions League knockout stages.
  • Manchester United have lost two home Champions League matches this season, against Juventus and PSG. They’ve lost three in one season just once, during the 1996-97 campaign, with current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer featuring in all three defeats.

Barcelona

  • This is Barcelona’s 17th Champions League quarter-final appearance, a joint-record with Bayern Munich; they have qualified for an 12th successive season, a competition record.
  • Barcelona have progressed from 79% of their Champions League knockout ties when playing the first leg away from home (23 of 29), compared with just 33% when playing the first leg at home (four of 12).
  • Since Chelsea eliminated Barcelona in the 2011-12 semi-final, English teams have been eliminated in 10 of 11 Champions League knockout ties against Spanish sides – the exception was Leicester City against Sevilla in the last 16 in 2016-17.
  • Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 22 Champions League goals in 30 appearances against English teams – more than any other player in the history of the competition.
  • Messi has failed to score in any of his past 11 Champions League quarter-final appearances for Barcelona; since netting against PSG in April 2013, the Argentine forward has attempted 49 shots without success at this stage of the competition.
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