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He will be difficult to stop but it's not like it's Messi against us- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Written by: Shivam Tiwari

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The Red Devils will play against Barcelona for the first time since the final of UEFA Champions League 2011.

Lionel Messi is in the form of his life for Barcelona, bailing out the Blaugranas time and again. But the Manchester United head-coach Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has refrained to consider the La Liga leaders as a one-man team.

Barcelona chase an unprecedented treble. They have been the league leaders ever since the start of the season, thanks to a slump in form of the arch-rivals Real Madrid, who couldn't replace the departed superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

They find themselves in the final of the Copa del Ray after beating Los Blancos at their home stadium in the finals. The Blaugrana face Manchester United in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, having qualified after beating Lyon before topping the group stage.

Messi has played a big part in those qualifications and wins, having scored 43 times in 40 appearances. Barcelona has time and again looked helpless and clueless without Messi on the pitch for them.

But the Manchester United boss has refused to accept that stopping Messi would be job-well-done and enough to stop the Blaugrana from taking advantage to Camp Nou or even progressing from the round.

"Messi is a fantastic player and will go down in history as one of the best individual players ever," said Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"He will be difficult to stop but it's not like it's Messi against Manchester United. There is Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal. There are so many good players. We can't just focus on one player. We know we have to play against 11 of them."

United have proven to be the ones not be taken lightly and have progressed in the game after having beaten Paris St. Germain at the Parc des Princes, overturning a 2-0 deficit.

And who better than Gerard Pique and co would know what happens when a team is taken lightly on a European fixture after having seen the Greek defender Manolas rip them apart in the second leg of the quarter-finals last season. Pique, hence, has learnt his lesson and believes his side has as well.



"The game against PSG is a great example. PSG were better. But you cannot let United off the hook because they have a great team and a great history as they showed in Paris.


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"We have learned that things happen, even if it seemed unimaginable that they will. We've learned that you cannot let an opponent back into a tie if they are not killed off. That will help us for facing a team like United. If at any point we can kill off the tie, we have to do it."

But the Red Devils have seemed to be too busy celebrating the comeback against PSG, losing thrice since then. And Solksjaer knows it could well happen again if they don't step up to the occasion.

He said, "The game against PSG is a great example. PSG were better. But you cannot let United off the hook because they have a great team and a great history as they showed in Paris.

"We have learned that things happen, even if it seemed unimaginable that they will. We've learned that you cannot let an opponent back into a tie if they are not killed off. That will help us for facing a team like United. If at any point we can kill off the tie, we have to do it."

Published: Wed Apr 10, 2019 07:12 PM IST

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