Football

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde wary of Man United’s late show

Red Devils have won three European ties this season with last-gasp goals

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde needs no reminder of Manchester United's habit of leaving it late.

The Red Devils bagged several last-gasp goals in the Champions League this season - against the Young Boys at home (1-0) and Juventus away (2-1) in the group stage.

In their last-16, second-leg match against Paris Saint-Germain last month, an injury-time penalty winner by Marcus Rashford helped them draw the tie 3-3 on aggregate and progress on away goals.

Valverde said at their pre-match press conference yesterday: "I don't know what style Manchester United will employ but they've won two Champions League away games (with goals) in the last few minutes and we must be alert.

"Every team will be faithful to their style and we need to play our way.

"We are aware of the potential of Manchester United, and we have to close the spaces so that they don't have options.

"If they are given space, they can be very dangerous."

Despite holding an away-goal advantage following last week's 1-0 first-leg win at Old Trafford, Valverde insists Barcelona cannot be complacent.

He was certainly not taking things for granted, resting almost his entire first team for the 0-0 draw with Huesca on Saturday.

"The result in the first leg is not definitive... what we'll try to do is to make sure they don't score," he said.

"Our objective is definitely to win the game."

Ex-Barcelona star Ronaldinho believes his old club should have wrapped up the tie at Old Trafford, but he still expects the La Liga champions to "win comfortably" at the Nou Camp.

He told The Daily Star: "The truth is that Barcelona should have finished the game in Manchester - but at just 1-0, Manchester United will still believe that they are in this tie.

"With the way that Barcelona have been playing and the amount of goals they have been scoring, I do expect them to progress.

"I see them even winning comfortably in Barcelona. It will all be on the first goal.

"If Barcelona score it, then it will be a long evening for Manchester United.

"But if they (United) can score the first goal, then it's going to make the stadium nervous - and you never know what can happen then."

United legend Paul Scholes, however, took a different view.

He said on BT Sport: "I don't think it's the best Barcelona team we've seen for so many years.

"United went to PSG and did a great job and I think they're possibly a better team than Barcelona."

His counterpart in the BT Sport studio, Slaven Bilic, meanwhile, called United's first-leg home defeat a "good result" for the Red Devils.

Said the former Croatia and West Ham United boss: "United had a really good result, it sounds strange but they're going to have chances.

"The way Barcelona are playing, they will give you space.

"If United have as much luck as they did against PSG, they have a chance."

Football