Xavi relishing the challenge of Barca’s ‘spectacular’ Manchester United tie


Barcelona boss Xavi sees a tie against Manchester United as a chance for the LaLiga leaders to show they can be a force in Europe.

Xavi urged his Barcelona side to show they can compete against an elite European side when they face Manchester United in a “spectacular” tie on Thursday.

Barca and United will do battle at Camp Nou in the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie before returning to Old Trafford a week later.

Xavi’s side have gone 16 games unbeaten since losing 3-0 at home to Bayern Munich in October and have now lost 11 in a row.

The Red Devils have bounced back under Eric Hoag, losing just one of their last 15 games and finishing third in the Premier League table.

Barca failed to get out of the UEFA Champions League group stage, but head coach Xavi is relishing the chance to build on his performance as they seek a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

He said: “This is a great game tomorrow. This is a great tie. Both teams have reached their best moment of the season. Ten Hag has changed the face of the team. It has been difficult for them, but they did very well.

“I expect a strong and rhythmic game. This is Europe and we want to show that we can compete with top European opponents.”

Xavi doesn’t believe in promoting the Blaugrana.

The former Spain international said: “A lot will be decided at Old Trafford. I saw two close games. It’s a shame not to play the second leg at home.

“I don’t think they are favorites. There are many good teams in this tournament, it’s a tough competition.”

Xavi added: “United is a great club. They are not in the best moment in their history, but they have players who are playing in great moments. They have been good in recent weeks and it will be very difficult to win the game. .

“We want to show that we are at a high level and we are all working hard and aggressively. Tomorrow is an important test to compete in Europe.”

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