Xavi hails Erik ten Hag for 'changing the face' of Man Utd & admits Barcelona are wary of Marcus Rashford threat
- Barca host United on Thursday
- Xavi impressed by Ten Hag
- Has plenty of praise for Rashford
WHAT HAPPENED? Barcelona and Manchester United clash in a glamour tie on Thursday, and both teams are in strong form, with Barca currently 11 points clear at the top of La Liga. Xavi's side will meet an improving United team, and he is impressed with the job his opposite number is doing at Old Trafford.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Ten Hag has changed the face of the team. It's been hard for them but they're doing a great job. He is a great coach. Reversing the situation at United was not easy," he told reporters. "He makes variants in attack and defence, they work very well. He is an attacking coach and he shows it in almost every game. He is a reference for coaches who like this kind of football."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Xavi also admitted his defenders will have to take particular care when they come up against in-form striker Rashford: "He's one of the most dangerous forwards in Europe. He's fast, he's one-on-one and we'll have to watch him a lot. He's one of the best in Europe, without a doubt. We have assessed what they are doing. Rashford, [Alejandro] Garnacho, [Jadon] Sancho and [Wout] Weghorst might be a reference. The transitions are very quick."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rashford is in the form of his life and has scored 13 goals in just 15 games since returning from the World Cup. The striker will now come up against the meanest defence in Europe's top five leagues, with Xavi's side having conceded just seven goals in 21 Liga games in 2022-23.
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DID YOU KNOW? Rashford has scored 21 goals in all competitions this season, only scoring more goals during the 2019-20 campaign (22).
WHAT NEXT? The two teams met at the Camp Nou on Thursday for the first leg. The return will take place a week later at Old Trafford. The winners of the tie will progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.