Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has stated Lionel Messi is in”perfect” state to face Manchester United in the next leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
It’s four years because Barca last reached the semis of Europe’s greatest contest but a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford makes them firm favorites before the yield at Camp Nou.
Messi was one of 10 players rested to the goalless draw Huesca on Saturday following a significant challenge from Chris Smalling last week left him with a swollen lip and nose.
“He’s nice,” said Valverde in a media conference on Tuesday. “He’s recovered perfectly from the blow he endured. He was nice after a couple of times.
“It is a fact that throughout the game he had been a little stunned but he’s in excellent condition and doesn’t have any problems before tomorrow’s match.”
Valverde stated Ousmane Dembele could also attribute after he played 67 minutes from Huesca, having recovered from a hamstring injury. “I really don’t understand to what extent since he’s been out for four months,” Valverde said. “However he is prepared to play”
Barcelona has lost only 1 home game in the Champions League within 10 decades but United will take expect in their last 16 comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain when they chased a 2-0 first-leg defeat to experience.
“That memory in PSG will help the players and people as a staff, we know we could turn things around,” coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained.
“Barcelona here in the Nou Camp is a difficult prospect however, the memory will live together with all the players, it is not long past.”
Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is convinced his team can prevent a repeat. “The fantastic thing is that we play differently to PSG,” he explained. “But United are harmful and the result in the initial leg is harmful, it’s a really small benefit.”
Solskjaer may also draw upon his own experience of the Camp Nou, in 1999, when he also scored a 93rd-minute winner as United came from 1-0 down to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the Champions League final.
“Obviously it is a wonderful memory for me. It is the only time I have been around the pitch,” Solskjaer explained.
“I don’t mind if we dent at the 93rd minute. When we reach injury-time we’re a healthy team.”
Barcelona’s recent history in this contest has become more painful as United look to follow Juventus, Atletico Madrid, and Roma in sending them out from the quarter-finals for the fourth year in a row.
“It’s been challenging,” said Ter Stegen. “We’re just another year older and we would like to be certain that it doesn’t happen again. We must take these losses into consideration and also use them to proceed.”
Valverde encouraged his players to grab the chance. “I believe we all take examples of things going on before and rely on them to spur us on,” he explained. “That is ok but I would rather take control of your own fate. You won’t receive something which falls from the skies. We must make it.”
United’s biggest threat in recent months has tended to emerge on the counter-attack however Solskjaer insists that they can’t afford to sit back again.
“You will find freak results against Barcelona if you’ve got 10 or 15 percent ownership and they do not triumph but normally they do triumph,” Solskjaer explained. “We will need to stamp our authority over the sport.”