Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has urged his squad to finish what they started following their 2-2 draw against Barcelona at the Spotify Camp Nou this evening.
The former Ajax boss watched his side deliver a superb performance in the Europa League play-offs against one of Europe’s most in-form teams.
United came from a goal down to lead the Catalans, but it was not to be a famous win in Spain. Barcelona grabbed an equaliser and pushed for a winner in the dying minutes.
Ten Hag has urged his side to stay focused on the job when Barcelona come into town next week.
“I think we dictated the game,” ten Hag said when asked about the thrilling encounter (BT Sport via BBC).
“Apart from maybe 15 minutes in the first half, we had some difficulties, but, in the rest, we were dictating the game, and we had so many chances.
“I was a little bit disappointed that at half-time it was 0-0 because we should have scored, and the opportunities they had we created by ourselves.
“But I think it was a great game. Two attacking teams. I think it was a Champions League game, even more than that, so I really enjoyed the game. In the end, (it finished) 2-2, and we have to finish it in Old Trafford.”
Ten Hag then praised the character his team showed when they went down. He loved the fight to get back into the game.
After an exciting first half that finished goalless, Marcos Alonso brought the game to life five minutes into the second half, heading home a Raphinha cross.
The former Chelsea man pointed to the sky to remember his father, Marcos Alonso Pena, who died last week.
United responded immediately through Marcus Rashford. He squeezed a shot through Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s near-post after Fred set him up.
It was Rashford’s 22nd goal this season, equalling his best-ever tally for the club from the 2019/20 campaign.
The in-form forward turned creator for the second goal minutes later. He drove at Barcelona’s defence from a short corner before his cross veered off Jules Kounde and into the net.
However, Barcelona battled back and netted their equaliser. A Raphinha free-kick aimed for Robert Lewandowski trickled into David De Gea’s goal.
Barcelona had a claim for a penalty when a header came off Fred’s arm in the box. United also felt Kounde deserved a red card after stopping Rashford one-on-one outside the box. The referee ignored both claims.
It is all to play for at Old Trafford for both sides. It should be another cracker if they can replicate the energy from this game.
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