Manchester United host Barcelona in the first-leg of the Champions League quarterfinals next Wednesday (April 10), and the Red Devils will fancy their chances of advancing to the semis after shocking Paris Saint-Germain during the last round.
The Old Trafford outfit came from behind after a 2-0 first-leg home loss to secure a last-8 berth by winning the second-leg 3-1 at the Parc des Prince.
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is wary of the huge threat United pose, especially under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he believes having and knowing his best side and starting lineup is the reason why the Norwegian and his men mustn’t be underrated by the Catalans.
“I have a lot of respect for the British people and the passion which they have for football, the full stadiums,” the Croatian star told GQ Magazine.
“Man United are having good results and to score three goals in Paris was incredible. You have to respect Manchester for this comeback, for the organisation and fight in the team with so many young players.
“You have to know your best side, and the new Man United manager seems to know that. If you have to fight a bit more or play counter-attacking then you do what is best. A lot of teams would like to play like Barcelona and have possession. But if you have possession and you lose the game finally, then it’s for nothing and I would not be happy.”
Since arriving the Theatre of Dreams last December, Solskjaer has named a different starting XI for each of his games, with injuries, suspension and tactical necessity preventing him from sticking with a particular lineup.
While he has often rotated and changed formation, the former striker has identified his best players and brought out the best in almost everyone.
United have no major injury worries ahead of the Barcelona clash, and Solskjaer will be naming his best side – the 18-player matchday squad – for the games.
They have already proved that they can climb a few mountains before, and it won’t come across as a huge shock should they pip Barca to the semifinals spot.