Barcelona take on Manchester United at Camp Nou in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Catalan side are currently 11 points clear at the top of La Liga having beaten Villarreal 1-0 in Vila-real on Sunday night.
Xavi Hernández says ahead of the tie against United that “barring a surprise, a lot will be decided at Old Trafford”.
The Barcelona head coach added in quotes transcribed by Mundo Deportivo: “I see two very evenly matched games. There will be the second leg but it’s a pity that we won’t play it at home, but that’s what we’ve earned”.
United are currently on a strong run under Erik ten Hag and sit in 3rd place in the Premier League after their win against Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday.
On the Europa League
“I think it’s a very tough competition”, Xavi explained before going on to say that Barça are not favourites for the competition. “I don’t see us as favourites”.
The away goals rule has been abolished, and the former midfielder adds: “I think it’s fairer. I like this format better than the old one, that the two teams continue to play each other in extra time to see which one is better”.
Raphinha gives his thoughts on the Europa League clash
Raphinha, who knows Manchester United well from his time at Leeds, said ahead of the tie that “it’s one of the best games you can play in”.
“I expect a good game, I think they are a difficult team, and we have to know what we have to do.”
On his improvement in the last few games for Barcelona, the Brazilian points out: “I’m in my first season and it’s normal that there is a period of adaptation. I’m going through my best moment at the club, but I’m still in the adaptation phase. I thank my team-mates and the coach for their help”.
Kieran Quaile | GSFN