Manchester United vs Barcelona Highlights
Watch Manchester United vs Barcelona Highlights on UKsports. Manchester United were 2-1 winners against Barcelona in their Europa League play-off second leg at Old Trafford; Erik ten Hag’s side won 4-3 on aggregate; Man Utd went behind on the night, but fought back in the second half to seal a place in the last 16.
Erik ten Hag has hailed Manchester United’s Europa League victory against Barcelona as “my biggest win” as the club’s manager, and praised the personality of his players to come from behind.
After an electric first leg at the Nou Camp last week that saw the sides draw 2-2, Man Utd went behind early on in the second leg after a Robert Lewandowski penalty.
But after the introduction of Antony at half-time, the hosts looked like a changed side. Fred equalised minutes after the break before Antony himself fired home the winner and seal Man Utd‘s place in the Europa League last 16.
Erik’s Statement on the victory
When asked if this is his biggest win as Man Utd manager, Ten Hag told: “I think so, yes. We’ve had some good wins – Liverpool and Arsenal at home.
“I think this, over two legs, against Barcelona – leaders in LaLiga, eight points ahead of Real Madrid. We have all seen Real Madrid this week.
“So if you can beat them, then yes, this is my biggest win.”
He later added: “It was too flat in the first half, a little bit more belief. Our spare man, Casemiro, we did not use enough. Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a lot of space on the right side. We did not use him enough. Our pressing could have been more brave. That is what we said at half-time.”
Thursday’s win proved to be a stunning comeback against one of Europe’s in-form sides, further demonstrating just how far Ten Hag has bought his team since his summer arrival.
He explained, “We have some great personalities in the team – like with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. They come forward.
“Antony and Garnacho don’t fear anyone and we have more. Bruno, Casemiro. We have some great personalities so even when we get setbacks, they move on.
They are resilient and they are focused on getting the result even after conceding a cheap penalty. They believe they can turn it around.”
He also praised the contributions of goal scorers Antony and Fred – comparing his midfielder’s marking of Frenkie de Jong to that of a mosquito.
He said: “Antony is brave and he is fearless. I think what he brought in the second half is what we needed, running in behind, the dribbles, his goals. He is brave, he will go for it and when the opportunity comes, he will strike. I think he brings so much to this team.
“Fred had an important role. Already, last week in Barcelona, and this week, the same. He had to first stop Frenkie de Jong from playing.
“He had to play as a mosquito around him and go behind and he did it. He was magnificent. A brilliant assist for Rashy in Barcelona and today the goal.”
It was another game in which half-time substitutions have influenced the result, and Ten Hag was keen to stress that it takes a squad to be successful.
He added: “Football is 11 versus 11, we attack with 11 and defend with 11, but it is more than that it is about the squad. You need different types and different profiles.
“When your time is there, you have to be ready to come on and contribute to the team. You cannot win trophies with 11, especially not nowadays in football, you need a squad to bring different dynamics in the game.”