Barcelona fear Manchester United spirit, says Ernesto Valverde
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 15/04/19 5:00pm
Ernesto Valverde has admitted he fears Manchester United's "spirit" as he attempts to lead Barcelona into the Champions League semi-finals at their expense.
Barca host United in the second leg of their quarter-final at the Nou Camp on Tuesday, and will take a 1-0 lead into the game following their victory in the first match at Old Trafford.
However, United overcame PSG in the last 16, despite losing the first leg at home, and Valverde is wary of allowing a similar fate to befall Barcelona.
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He said: "What I fear the most is the spirit they have. We respect them as a team, and the history they have behind them.
"You can feel their spirit on the pitch and I think we will see it tomorrow. If we want to face that we have to show the way we are ourselves."
United had just 34 per cent of the possession and registered no shots on target in the first leg against Barcelona, while they had the ball for just 28 per cent of their 3-1 win away to PSG in the previous round.
"I don't know what Manchester United are going to do but we do have the references of what they've been doing in the Champions League this year," Valverde added.
"In four games away from home, they have won three, and a couple in the last few minutes. So we must be on the ball.
"Every team will try to play their game based on the players they have, and we will try to play our game."
Valverde confirmed Lionel Messi is fit to play against United on Tuesday, despite being given a bloody nose in a clash with Chris Smalling during the first leg.
Messi was left out of Barca's squad for their draw away to Huesca on Saturday, and Valverde said: "He's fine after the blow he suffered. He was OK a couple of days afterwards.
"Yes, he was a little bit stunned during the game, but he has no problem at all for the game tomorrow."