FC Barcelona manager Xavi has admitted that they have received the most difficult opponent in the Europa League round-of-16 play-off.
Barcelona have failed to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 for the second consecutive season. They finished third in Group C, behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Since Barcelona secured a third-place finish, the Spanish side earned a place in the Europa League round-of-16 play-off draw. The round-of-16 play-off draw took place on Monday, and Barcelona have been drawn against Manchester United.
Man Utd have failed to directly qualify for Europa League round-of-16 after finishing second in Group E, behind Real Sociedad. The Red Devils will have to get the better of Barcelona to seal their place in the next stage of the competition.
‘Barcelona have got the most difficult opponent’: Xavi reacts to Europa League round-of-16 play-off draw
Speaking after learning they will face Manchester United in the play-off, Barcelona manager Xavi admitted they have received the most difficult opponent.
Xavi also noted Man Utd have grown a lot since Erik ten Hag became the Red Devils’ manager. He confessed it is the worst draw they could have got.
“It is the most difficult opponent once again, but we will look forward to it,” the Barcelona manager said.
“They are a historic side, they have grown a lot with the arrival of Ten Hag, and they have great players. It’s the worst draw we could have got. Once again, no luck.”
Although Barcelona have had a disappointing Champions League 22/23 campaign, they have been impressive in La Liga. Barca occupies the first place in the Spanish top flight, ahead of defending champions Real Madrid.
Barcelona sit atop the La Liga points table with 34 points from 13 matches. They have only dropped five points in the league so far this season. Barca have 11 wins, a draw, and a defeat so far in the Spanish top-flight in the 22/23 campaign.
Barcelona also enjoys a two-point lead over Real Madrid, who fell to a 3-2 defeat to Rayo Vallecano earlier this week. Real Madrid have 32 points from 13 matches in the league.
Meanwhile, Manchester United are fifth in the Premier League points table, with 23 points from 13 matches. The Old Trafford outfit are 11 points behind Premier League table-toppers Arsenal, who have 34 points from 13 matches.