‘Two-thirds of Barca fans expect defeat at Old Trafford’ | Europa League 2022/23

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Many United fans hadn’t seen too much of Pedri and Gavi before last week’s match. How big a factor is their absence for the second leg?
“They’re very typical Spanish players – good on the ball, great at passing – and they’ll definitely miss them. My son goes through the Sitges academy here, and a lot of focus is on ball retention and passing. Although my son’s a defender, they don’t spend a lot of time in defensive positions; they spend a lot of the time at a very young age on holding onto the ball, passing the ball, moving the ball around the pitch. They have really good teams [in the Barcelona academy]. But Pedri and Gavi are still very young, and they get compared to Xavi and Iniesta, which is a big burden to put on their shoulders. It’s like everyone’s the next Ryan Giggs at United, and it very rarely works out that they are. But they are very good players and they will miss them on Thursday. But they are young and they are inexperienced, and they didn’t dictate the last game. There were times United had good possession of the ball and were able to play around them. So that would have been frustrating for the Barcelona players, because they’re used to having things go their way. Busquets will come back in, and he will probably be more important for Barcelona at Old Trafford – having an old head and being more defensive, and he knows how to run the clock down if they get their noses in front.”

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