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Ten Hag Will Want United To Seize Second European Chance But Barcelona Won’t Be Easy

As Manchester United fans will know, the club were drawn against La Liga giants Barcelona in the Europa League knockout round play offs.

Old Trafford

Old Trafford

As Manchester United fans will know, earlier this week the storied Old Trafford club were drawn against Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona in the Europa League knockout round play offs.

It is not a great draw for the English Premier League side given their struggles for consistency as new manager Erik ten Hag tries to get his message across to the players and start getting them to play in a style that brought him huge success with Eredivisie giants Ajax, and obviously needing to go the play off route, United did not have the best of times in the group stage and fans of The Red Devil’s will now need to book additional manchester united tickets.

This part of the competition features the eight runners up from the Europa League groups, who in turn face a double header against the eight sides who finished third in their own Champions League groups. There are some big ties following the draw which can be found on the official site, but few, if any, bigger than the United and Barcelona clash.

The eventual winners progress through to the last 16 stage, with the first legs taking place on February 16 and the second legs on February 23. Having finished second behind Real Sociedad in their group, United travel away to Barcelona’s Nou Camp for the first leg and although their opposition are currently top of the La Liga table, Ten Hag’s side can take some positives from the fact they need this round themselves – having finished behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in their own Champions League group. The return leg at Old Trafford takes place seven days later.

For himself, Barcelona manager Xavi is expecting a tough test.

“We will have to compete, going to Manchester against a really top rival and an historic side which has grown a lot with the arrival of Erik ten Hag. They have great individual players and it is the toughest rival once again in the Europa League. It’s a massive challenge for us.”

Irrespective if relevant form, and for United, in particular, that is a concern on a more domestic front having just been roundly beaten 3-1 by Unai Emery’s new Aston Villa side in his first Premier League clash at Villa Park – more so as most Villa fans would have gone into the clash expecting a defeat given they had failed to beat United one home soil in any competition for the last 23 years. They last time they won at Villa Park was way back in 1995 when BBC pundit Alan Hanson famously, and quite hysterically, claimed United ‘can’t win anything with kids’. History proved him very wrong.

It was not what they expected having gone nine unbeaten in recent matches, and it is Aston Villa up next again in a double header as the sides face off again in the third round of the EFL League Cup, before United then close the season down for the Qatar World Cup winter break following the away trip to Craven Cottage as they face Fulham.

With no further competitive fixtures until December 27 when EPL football returns and United face newly promoted Nottingham Forest, Ten Hag will be hoping his message sinks in further during the meantime – even allowing for those players away on duty with their countries.

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