'Fear of what?' - Xavi insists Barcelona aren't afraid of going to Old Trafford ahead of Europa League showdown
- Barca need to win at Old Trafford to progress
- United have lost just once at home all season
- Xavi motivated rather than scared by occasion
WHAT HAPPENED? The tie is delicately poised following a pulsating first leg which finished 2-2 at Camp Nou last week. The result means Xavi's side come to Old Trafford needing a win to avoid extra-time and penalties, although with United having lost just once at home all season, that may not come easy.
Xavi said that he will use the magnitude of the situation and setting as a source of motivation, not fear.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Fear? Fear of what? On the contrary, Old Trafford motivates [us]," the Barca boss told The Times ahead of the match. "It is one of those stadiums where you want to play at least once in your life, where you have to get the best out of yourself. We have to be brave, go all out for the game without complexities. It’s like at the Bernabeu, you have to be brave. And to be a great team you have to win at those grounds. And we want to be a great team. That’s how I see it.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Erik ten Hag was boosted by the return to fitness of Antony and Harry Maguire for Thursday's blockbuster clash, Xavi will be without Pedri and Gavi through injury and suspension, respectively. But the Spaniard was keen to dispel the significance of such absences, stating: "That can’t be an excuse. Someone else will play. It doesn’t alter the fact that we have to win. And we can do it, I’m sure."
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DID YOU KNOW? Barcelona have the edge in the 14 head-to-head meeting between the two sides, winning six games compared to United's three (five have ended in a draw).
WHAT NEXT FOR XAVI? After leading his fearless side out at Old Trafford, the Spaniard will oversee Barca's next league match away at Almeria on Sunday.