Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes tie is still very much in the balance

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Gerard Pique

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes the Champions League tie against Manchester United is far from over despite the Catalan giants carrying a 1-0 advantage to the Camp Nou.

The La Liga champions did not deliver a vintage performance that has been their hallmark for over a decade but Luke Shaw’s own goal saw them leave Old Trafford boasting a slender win after the first leg of the quarter-final.

United, who reached this stage by overturning a two-goal deficit against Paris St Germain at the Parc des Princes last month, saw Diogo Dalot and Marcus Rashford squander decent opportunities.

But Pique, who played for United from 2004 to 2008, insists the Red Devils overcame a larger deficit against PSG and are capable of repeating the feat against Barcelona next Tuesday in the second leg.

“After Paris Saint-Germain won here by a larger margin you can’t trust the result,” he said after the game, according to Marca.

“Look at what happened to them.

“They [United] are a great club and they can turn this around, but our fans will surely help us.”

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Man United 0-1 Barcelona: Player ratings as Gerard Pique stands tall and Sergio Busquets struggles

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Barcelona remain favourites to make the Champions League semi-finals thanks to a first-half own goal from Manchester United’s makeshift centre-back Luke Shaw.

The La Liga holders produced a measured performance at Old Trafford, restricting their opponents to zero shots on target and profiting after Uruguay striker Luis Suarez’s header flicked in off the unfortunate Shaw during the 12th minute.

Few other chances of note occurred in this 1-0 victory for visitors who did not need to be at their blistering best. The clubs meet again for the decider at Camp Nou next Tuesday.

BARCELONA (4-3-3)

Marc-Andre ter Stegen 6: Football’s great sweeper/keeper had to be alert to through balls, but faced no shots.

Nelson Semedo 7: Added pace and drive with Dembele restricted to the bench. Big performer on night.

Gerard Pique 7: Former United youth product made one marvellous second-half block from substitute Martial. Led way with three aerials won.

Clement Lenglet 7: Simply relishes match-ups against the leaden-footed Lukaku. Merits spot in XI.

Jordi Alba 7: Made on essential interception in first half after loose pass. Blocked succession of crosses.

Ivan Rakitic 7: Measured presence in midfield, doing nothing flashy but everything proficiently.

Sergio Busquets 5: Could have received two bookings in first 20 minutes. Recovered from suspect start.

Arthur 6: Not at his brilliant best, yet still exuded class and provided shield in front of defence.

Lionel Messi 5: Was subdued even before receiving a whack from Smalling. One deflected free-kick threatened.

Luis Suarez 6: Nuisance throughout. His movement forced Shaw’s error. Helped Barcelona to retain ball.

Philippe Coutinho 5: It’s a different review if he buried chance. But he didn’t – and that’s story of his forgettable Barca career to date.

SUBSTITUTES

Arturo Vidal 6: Got straight into game, gaining a booking then causing one for Lingard. Great option.

Sergi Roberto 5: Crossing was utterly risible. Should have won tie for Barca.

Carles Alena N/A: Late substitute didn’t have time to touch ball.

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Pique dismisses suggestions of Barcelona being under pressure ahead of Man United tie

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Gerard Pique

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has refuted suggestions that the Catalan club is under immense pressure to win the Champions League ahead of his side’s quarter-final clash against Manchester United.

The centre-back was asked if there is pressure on Barcelona to perform, especially with eternal rivals Real Madrid winning the last three Champions Leagues while his team has failed to get past the quarterfinals.

Pique pointed to Barcelona’s performance in other competitions during the same period, mainly the La Liga and refused to be drawn into a comparison with Real Madrid’s recent achievements.  The Spain international feels that the pressure factor kicks in only if a team has not won the competition for 20 years or so.

“We don’t care what Real Madrid have won, as things go as they go and history is what it is,” he said at a pre-match press conference ahead of the quarter-final against Manchester United, according to Marca.

“They have won this tournament several times in recent years, while we won other titles. To compare the titles won is something for you all to do. We have to be happy with what we’ve achieved.

“We don’t feel pressure. There is a lot of excitement, not pressure. We would feel pressure if we hadn’t won the competition in 20 years. I don’t want to compare this season with other years.”

Pique knows that getting a result at Old Trafford is not easy, despite Barcelona being on good dynamics at the moment.

“We’re in a good situation, we’re playing well and we’re achieving results,” the central defender stated.

“We come here aware of how difficult it is to play at Old Trafford,” he added.

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