Xavi Gives His Thoughts On Marcus Rashford Ahead Of United vs Barcelona

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford against PSG.

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Barcelona manager Xavi lauded in-form Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford ahead of the two sides meeting in the first leg of the Europa League knockout round play-off.

The Catalans boast one of the best defensive records in Europe’s top five leagues, having kept 16 clean sheets in 21 La Liga games this season. The summer arrival of Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde have had a positive impact, to say the least, on Barcelona’s defence. Alejandro Balde and Ronald Araujo have also enjoyed a great run of form under Xavi.

However, their next test will be against the Red Devils’ whose attack is being led by Europe’s most in-form forward, Rashford. The Englishman has scored 13 goals in 15 appearances since the World Cup.

Xavi’s men are expected to keep the lion’s share of possession but will have to be careful in transition to ensure a comfortable night for their goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Underlining the visitor’s threat going forward, the Barcelona boss said: “In the transition he is very, very dangerous so, yes, we need to take care of all of them but especially Rashford.

“He’s one of the most dangerous players now in Europe.”

In recent big matches, Xavi has opted to shift pacy Araujo to the right-back position to keep direct wingers, akin to Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr., quiet, and it won’t be surprising if he opts to use the same approach against Rashford on Thursday.