Erik ten Hag makes honest admission ahead of Barcelona tie in Europa League

It goes without saying that the Europa League play-off against Barcelona is far from ideal.

All you need to do as a Manchester United fan is consider our fixture congestion this season. Then the fact we’ve got Barcelona away, Leicester City in the league and Barca at home before our trip to Wembley for the Carabao Cup.

Newcastle have one match between now and then. It’s a huge difference and the Magpies will be aiming to take advantage of that.

Anyhow, Erik ten Hag has admitted he would have preferred for United to play Barcelona in the final of the Europa League.

United failed to top their Europa League group and Barcelona finished third in their Champions League group earlier this season, hence why both teams are having to play a play-off over the next two weeks.

Ten Hag has been speaking about the match ahead of his press conference, which takes place tomorrow afternoon.

“I think Barcelona and us as well would have preferred to play this match in the final,” Ten Hag told “We are looking forward to it, it takes a lot of energy searching for that finish and it will be a great game.

“Hopefully, everyone is fit for Barcelona and for us. So, we see a game that will be played at the highest level. As a player, I admire Barcelona’s manager, Xavi. Barcelona, the way they played with him: he was such an important part of the team.

“You can see the philosophy he now brings to his Barcelona. I really like his team, the attacking way of play. I think he is heading in the right direction. I think it’s going to be a good challenge between Manchester United and Barcelona.”

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