Barcelona boss Xavi praises Erik ten Hag and Manchester United after Europa League draw
Xavi, the manager of Barcelona, was all praise for Manchester United as well as Erik ten Hag after the 2-2 draw in the first leg of the Europa League play-off tie.
The Camp Nou side welcomed the Red Devils to Catalunya on Thursday (16 February). It was an exciting end-to-end match for most of the fixture. In the end, the Blaugrana managed to get a draw after an impressive display from the Old Trafford side away from home.
Speaking to BT Sport (h/t Express), Xavi gave the Dutch manager his flowers. The Spanish head coach feels both teams are getting back to their best after their struggles in recent years.
“Manchester [United] is coming back and today they showed their best version. Both teams are more or less in the same position. We are coming back. I told Ten Hag congratulations because he is doing very well. It can be a final or semi-final in the future Champions League.”
In the recent past, Barcelona and United have taken on each other in the Champions League semi-finals and finals. However, the last few seasons have not been as fruitful for us.
However, Xavi and Ten Hag are doing an exceptional job in their respective dugouts after struggling initially. The former Ajax head coach has quickly managed to turn things around after the two losses at the start of the season.
The progress the Dutch manager has made can be seen by the fact that we went toe-to-toe with the La Liga leaders. In the current campaign, the Blaugrana have been defensively solid in the Spanish top fight.
However, the Red Devils managed to pose Xavi’s team a lot of problems throughout the match. The Old Trafford side went behind at the start of the second half when former Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso scored from a corner.
Thankfully, Marcus Rashford, who has shouldered the burden of our attack this season, was on hand to get us back into the game. It was the 25-year-old’s cross that led to Jules Kounde scoring the own goal to give the Old Trafford side the lead. But Raphinha levelled the fixture.
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United have shown encouraging signs under Ten Hag. It will be interesting to see how the Dutch manager sets us up in the second leg. The gaffer will also have the chance to lift silverware later this month in the Carabao Cup final.