Manchester United supervisor Erik ten Hag insists “distinctive” Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong would “strengthen any squad on the earth” because the pair put together to fulfill once more within the Europa League on Thursday.
United’s pursuit of De Jong throughout final summer season’s switch market was nicely documented with Ten Hag eager to be reunited with the previous Ajax star, however a deal between the Premier League aspect and La Liga giants didn’t recover from the road.
Barcelona head coach Xavi insisted on Wednesday that De Jong by no means needed to depart the membership on the time, however that didn’t cease Ten Hag, who coached the 25-year-old for 18 months throughout their time within the Netherlands, from praising him as soon as extra.
“In 2019, there was a variety of fascination with that Ajax crew. Frenkie introduced a variety of that fascination and he has developed over the next years in Spain,” Ten Hag stated forward of Thursday’s Europa League knockout round play-off on the Nou Camp.
“He is a implausible participant and has change into even higher. Taking part in out from the again, he all the time has time.
“It was a pleasure working with him. He would strengthen any squad on the earth. He is acquired distinctive high quality.”
Ten Hag: Man Utd and Barcelona required a ‘reset’
United and Barcelona are getting ready to face off within the Europa League for the primary time having been beforehand used to competing in opposition to one another on the largest stage of European soccer.
Ten of their 13 conferences in all competitions have been within the Champions League, however Ten Hag believes the tie will assist each golf equipment to enhance shifting ahead.
“Each golf equipment have the ambition to be within the Champions League and to have an effect in it,” Ten Hag stated.
“However the actuality is, we’re within the Europa League, which exhibits each golf equipment wanted a reset. I believe it is thrilling to face one another as a result of it should assist each golf equipment. With such checks, you get higher.”
United will tackle a Barcelona aspect that’s unbeaten in 15 video games in all competitions and 11 factors clear on the prime of La Liga, however Ten Hag’s males will even take confidence into the fixture having misplaced simply as soon as in 15 matches for the reason that season resumed after the World Cup.
“It is clear while you see the stats of Barcelona, it is spectacular,” Ten Hag stated. “They defend nicely however I believe their largest ability is that they have a lot possession. When you have got the ball, the opponent can’t rating.
“At this second, they’re enjoying their greatest soccer for a number of years. You possibly can see Johan Cruyff’s inspiration right here.
“It is nice to play them. I just like the philosophy of this membership, they create up so many good gamers and good groups. We’re trying ahead to dealing with them.”
Man Utd crew information – Casemiro again however Martinez suspended
Casemiro is on the market for Manchester United regardless of nonetheless being banned in home competitors following his pink card in opposition to Crystal Palace.
Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are suspended having every picked up three bookings in Europe earlier than the flip of the yr.
Antony, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay haven’t travelled to Spain following their latest damage absences.
Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are additionally not accessible as they proceed their rehabilitation from long-term accidents.
Man Utd squad: David de Gea, Tom Heaton, Jack Butland, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Casemiro, Facundo Pellistri, Zidane Iqbal, Kobbie Mainoo, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Wout Weghorst, Anthony Elanga, Alejandro Garnacho.
After travelling to Barcelona for the primary leg of their Europa League knockout spherical play-off on Thursday (kick-off 5.45pm), Manchester United then host Leicester within the Premier League on Sunday, reside on Sky Sports activities (kick-off 4.30pm).
Erik ten Hag’s aspect then welcome Barcelona to Outdated Trafford within the second leg of that European tie on February 23 (kick-off 8pm) earlier than dealing with Newcastle within the Carabao Cup remaining at Wembley on February 26, reside on Sky Sports activities (kick-off 4.30pm).