Manchester United vs Barcelona preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists visitors not a one-man team
Winners play either Liverpool or Porto in the Champions League semi-finals
Last Updated: 10/04/19 10:52pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his Manchester United players that Barcelona are not just a one-man team after hailing Lionel Messi as one of the "best individual players ever", ahead of their Champions League quarter-final first leg at Old Trafford on Wednesday (kick-off 8pm).
With Messi in typically brilliant form, having scored 43 goals in 40 appearances for Barcelona this season, Solskjaer was quick to point out that the visitors have a number of match winners in their side.
Former Liverpool players, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, have drawn the attention of Solskjaer, with the Uruguayan having struck seven times in his last nine games in all competitions.
"He's a fantastic player and he will go down in the history (of football) as one of the best individual players ever," the Manchester United manager said of Messi.
"He will be difficult to stop but it is never impossible. It's not like it's Messi against Manchester United - it's (Luis) Suarez, (Philippe) Coutinho, (Ivan) Rakitic, (Arturo) Vidal.
"There's so many good players, we cannot just focus on one player. We know we have play against 11 of them."
Manchester United were handed a boost with Solskjaer saying he is hopeful Marcus Rashford will be fit following the ankle injury that forced the striker to miss his side's 2-1 Premier League loss to Wolves.
The forward started Tuesday's training session doing individual work which had raised questions over his participation in the first leg.
Defenders Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia remain unavailable while Ander Herrera is unlikely to recover in time to face Barcelona, but midfielder Nemanja Matic could also make the team.
- 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 is 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 Red Devils..
- Manchester United have won two of their last 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.
- Since Chelsea eliminated Barcelona in the 2011-12 semi-final, English teams have been eliminated in 10 of their last 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.
- Lionel Messi has failed to score in any of his last 11 Champions League quarter-final appearances for Barcelona; since netting against PSG in April 2013, the Argentinian forward has attempted 49 shots without success at this stage of the competition.
I have this game on Wednesday which I am thrilled about. Man Utd are on the edge of nothing. There are question marks about whether Ole is the right man - he is now that he has got the contract.
Are they going to get rid of these players? There is a bit of a negative feel about the place again. Barcelona can go at them and Luke Shaw will have to get tight to Messi. It is a big decision for Solskjaer as they like to attack.
Suarez will want to do well back at Old Trafford and Messi is the best ever in my opinion. Coutinho may be in, and then Arturo Vidal, Rakitic and Busquets are the feeders for Messi and Suarez. Rashford is key for Man Utd with his pace and movement.
Man Utd will be ready and if you give them too much respect they will beat you.
Charlie predicts: 1-2