Sunday, 7 April 2019

Valverde knows ‘powerful’ Man United can cause Barca problems

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is aware of Manchester United's physical threat ahead of their Champions League quarter-final.

The Catalans travel to Old Trafford on Wednesday night looking for their first victory at the famous stadium, before the reverse fixture at the Nou Camp the following week.

United beat Paris Saint-Germain to make it to the last eight and showed their ability to grind out a win in the 3-1 success at the Parc de Princes, so Valverde is not taking the Red Devils lightly.

“They are a powerful team,” said the Barca boss, as quoted by Sky Sports.

“They are going through a good run, even if they lost their last match (a 2-1 defeat against Wolves).

"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.”

Man United against Barcelona is something of a classic fixture in European football, with the clubs meeting on 11 previous occasions.

The two teams last met in the 2011 Champions League final, two years after they drew swords at the same stage in the competition.

Valverde and his side are looking forward to writing another chapter in the epic rivalry.

“This match is a classic in European football,” he said. “Barcelona have never won at Old Trafford I believe and we are going to try and change that.”

The Spanish champions warmed up for their clash with United by beating Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday night.

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi grabbed crucial late goals for Barca, on a night that saw the hosts move 11 points clear at the top of the table.

“This is a crucial victory. Three crucial points but we must continue,” said Valverde.

“Everyone knew the importance of this game and we are a little closer, but there are still 21 points to be awarded and we still need to be champions.

"We wanted to win tonight because it brings us a lot of confidence. We have matches now that follow very quickly."

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