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Barcelona defender confident about ‘tough match against Man United’: “We can do it”

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Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images

Millions of screens across the globe will be tuned into the UEFA Europa League clash between Barcelona and Manchester United later tonight as the two European giants face off for a spot in the Round of 16.

After a high-intensity 2-2 draw last week in Catalonia, one can expect fireworks of a whole new level when the two teams meet on Thursday. While both sides will have their attacking line under focus, the result will equally depend on which team manages to defend better.

Thus, Xavi is expected to start his Gala defence of Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde on the night. Of them, the Uruguayan is the one who comes off as the leader.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport earlier today, the defender spoke about the daunting challenge that lay ahead of his side at Old Trafford. Speaking about the potential disadvantage Barcelona faced with both Pedri and Gavi absent, he had only words of encouragement for his comrades.

“It will be very tough against Manchester United. They are fit and are very strong at home. We won’t have Pedri and Gavi, but we can do it.”

Barcelona’s first-leg display against the Premier League side was far from flawless. Erik Ten Hag’s team controlled the proceedings at several moments in the game, a rare sight from any opposition the Catalans face. The 23-year-old acknowledged that his side had made mistakes, yet urged the team to focus on the positives.

“The important thing is to correct the errors of the first leg. And I don’t think about the defeats of the past, there’s only the present.”

Unlike the first leg where he started as a right-back, Araujo is expected to play in central defence later today. The spotlight will be on the Uruguayan on the night, especially given that he will take on Marcus Rashford, one of the world’s most in-form players, head-to-head.

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