Manchester United will take on Barcelona in the first leg of the quarterfinal clash of the Champions League at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer’s men prepared for the Barcelona clash in an open training session earlier today. While Marcus Rashford returned to training, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic were the missing first-team stars.
The tie is going to be significant for Manchester United’s hopes for a Champions League qualification, as the side is currently at sixth in the Premier League.
After their shock comeback win against PSG, Manchester United can dare to hope against Barcelona as well, and defender Chris Smalling is positive about taking on the Catalan giants.
Lionel Messi visits the Old Trafford with Barcelona for the first time since 2009, and the English defender looked upbeat about taking him on in the first leg of the tie.
Chris Smalling on Lionel Messi:
The Manchester United defender stated that he is looking forward to defending against Lionel Messi on Wednesday night.
“Something to relish,” Smalling said.
“This season [I’ve been] lucky enough to face Ronaldo and Mbappe and now Messi, they’re challenges I relish, I say bring it on,” the defender said.
Manchester United were grouped with Juventus in the first stage of the Champions League this season. While the side lost at Old Trafford, United pulled out an emphatic comeback to defeat Juventus in Turin.
A similar series of results took place against Paris Saint Germain, where a second-string United side defeated PSG 3-1, with Marcus Rashford scoring the winning goal.
Chris Smalling has formed a decent defensive partnership with Victor Lindelof since coming back from the injury, and is currently the first-choice centre-back along with the Swede.
Manchester United will be hopeful of repeating a similar result to PSG against Barcelona as well, as the side faces an enormous task to secure a top-4 position in the Premier League. Solskjaer’s side is currently sixth in the league.
How Twitter reacted..
Chris Smalling asked about facing Lionel Messi. “It’s something to relish. I say bring it on”.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) April 9, 2019
United’s training group this morning:
De Gea, Romero, Grant
Jones, Dalot, Darmian, Rojo, Young, Lindelof, Shaw, Smalling
McTominay, Pereira, Fred, Garner, Gomes, Pogba, Mata, Lingard
Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez, Martial #mufc [MEN]
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) April 9, 2019
Smalling: “We were all excited [drawing Barcelona]. As soon as it came out, we were all happy. We cheered and then we got on with training. But at least we knew who was in front of us.” #mulive [mu]
— utdreport (@utdreport) April 9, 2019
Manchester United will take on Barcelona in the first leg on Wednesday. Here’s the side’s predicted XI for the clash.