Xavi confident De Jong won’t be affected by Man Utd transfer saga
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Manchester United coach Benni McCarthy was amused at a training session involving Lisandro Martinez and Alejandro Garnacho ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Barcelona. The former Porto striker was hired by Erik ten Hag back in the summer. And he’s proven to be a big influence at Carrington, with Red Devils squad members benefitting from his approach.
Manchester United will lock horns with Barcelona on Thursday looking to continue their impressive season so far.
Few gave Ten Hag a chance of having a successful first year in the dugout at the beginning of the campaign, especially after defeats to Brighton and Brentford.
But the Dutchman has masterminded a remarkable turnaround, with the Red Devils in with a shot of winning all four tournaments they’re currently in.
Ahead of United’s clash with Barcelona, players have been put through their paces.
And McCarthy was, according to the Manchester Evening News, amused by two incidents during the training session before the game.
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Martinez will miss the match through suspension but the Argentina international left his coach ‘amused’ by throwing himself around despite the fact he’s unavailable.
And McCarthy joined in with the laughs when Garnacho was ‘poleaxed’ by the ball.
Garnacho will be hoping to start up top for United, especially after his superb goal in the 2-0 victory over Leeds on Sunday.
Should that happen, then Marcus Rashford may be moved to the right – despite his impressive form this term.
And Wout Weghorst is expected to lead the line, with United poised to be without Anthony Martial for the crunch clash at the Nou Camp.
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Speaking ahead of the tie, Barcelona boss Xavi was asked about United and their season under Ten Hag so far.
And he was full of praise for the work the 53-year-old has done, saying: “Tomorrow is a great match.
“It’s a spectacular tie. Both teams arrived at the best moment of the season.
“Ten Hag has changed the face of the team. It’s been hard for them but they’re doing a great job.
“He is a great coach. Reversing the situation at United was not easy.
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“He makes variants in attack and defence, they work very well. He is an attacking coach and he shows it in almost every game. He is a reference for coaches who like this kind of football.
“Manchester United is a great club. They are not in the best moment in their history but there are players who are in a great moment.
“In recent weeks, they have had good results and it will be very hard to win the game.”
And he also praised Rashford, with the United star scoring 21 goals and registering seven assists across all competitions this season.
“He’s one of the most dangerous forwards in Europe,” continued the Barcelona boss. “He’s fast, he’s one-on-one and we’ll have to watch him a lot. He’s one of the best in Europe, without a doubt.
“We have assessed what they are doing. Rashford, (Alejandro) Garnacho, (Jadon) Sancho and (Wout) Weghorst might be a reference. The transitions are very quick.”
United last met Barcelona back in 2019.
They lost 2-0 at Old Trafford, with Lionel Messi then bagging a brace and Philippe Coutinho on target in a 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture in Catalonia.
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