Paul Pogba insists Man Utd can knock Barcelona out of Champions League

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Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba believes Manchester United can hurt Barcelona as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side again look to overcome an Old Trafford loss in the Champions League.

Having last month recovered from a two-goal home defeat in stunning fashion at Paris St Germain, the Red Devils head to Spain next Tuesday looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the quarter-finals.

Luke Shaw’s own goal from a Luis Suarez header was the difference at Old Trafford, where United failed to muster a shot on target but largely shackled Barca’s glut of attacking options.

Solskjaer’s men face an uphill battle at the Nou Camp, but Pogba takes encouragement from Barcelona’s limited display at Old Trafford.

“I think it was a good game,” the World Cup-winning midfielder said.

“Obviously we were playing against Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world, but we gave them some problems as well.

“They give us them some problems, but we know where we can hurt them.

“Now it is one leg gone, you have the other one and we are going to give everything on this one.”

Asked if he saw a team that United could beat, Pogba said: “Of course. If you don’t believe that you can beat them, you just let them go through.

“Of course, we believe that we can beat them.

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“We are Manchester United. Even if they are Barcelona, we are Manchester United, and we play in the Champions League like they do, and we can go through, of course.”

Winning at the Nou Camp will be a tough ask, but Pogba said the PSG comeback breeds positivity.

“Probably Paris will be in their minds for sure because they saw what we can do against PSG,” he said.

“Obviously they will be comfortable on their own pitch but let us see. We’ll see what happens at the end.

“I think maybe the chances that we get we have to put them in and be careful.

“They didn’t have really a lot of chances. Maybe one when David (De Gea) made a great save but then after that they were not that dangerous, not a lot of chances.

“So, try to avoid this and be a killer in front. That’s it.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Solskjaer frustrated with Man United's failure to take chances against Barcelona

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was frustrated with Manchester United‘s inability to take their chances after defeat to Barcelona but insisted they are capable of another memorable comeback.

The Catalan giants 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 1-0 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.

And Solskjaer recognises they must do better in front of goal if they are to upset the odds once more in the return leg at the Nou Camp next Tuesday.

The ground holds a special place in Solskjaer’s heart after his goal there sealed United’s famous Treble almost 20 years ago, leading the Norwegian to say: “We’ve scored goals at the Nou Camp before from corners and crosses.

“Of course the PSG performance away gives us hope and belief that we can do it. But we know that we are playing against the favourites in the tournament.

“Going to the Nou Camp is going to be a challenge and it will be a greater achievement winning that one because with the history of Barcelona as well, they’re not used to losing at home.

“But we can do it, no doubt about it, we know we can carry a goal threat.

“We created a couple of very good opportunities, Rashy had a volley after a cross that got punched out, Diogo had a great chance at the back post.

“We have to take our chances, you have to be very, very effective and efficient over there. We know we’re not going to create loads of chances so we have to take the ones we get.”

United have only scored once in the Champions League at home this season, a statistic Solskjaer blanches at but one that he feels is unimportant for now.

He added: “We cannot defend not scoring goals at home. But away from home we’ve beaten Juventus, we’ve beaten PSG, we have to go to Barcelona and win that one.

“We know we have possibilities in this tie, now is not the time to think about our home performances because now we’ve got to look forward to Tuesday.”

Solskjaer thinks Barcelona were fortunate to finish with their full complement, with Sergio Busquets particularly fortunate to stay on the field following some robust challenges.

He said: “Definitely yes (Busquets should have been sent off). There’s nothing we can do about it. I can’t complain about the referee. We haven’t had any homers, if you put it that way.”

Barca’s only concern came in the first half when Lionel Messi, who was kept largely subdued, was unintentionally caught by a trailing arm from Chris Smalling.

Messi played the entirety of the 90 minutes and Barca coach Ernesto Valverde revealed the Argentinian will be assessed on Thursday.

He said: “I feel good taking into account that we are going away with a decent result, (it leaves a) good taste in the mouth.

“We know it’s a tight result. There is a second game to come, we know they can react away from home and they did well against PSG.

“It was a very tough game, what we expected. There were moments where we suffered but we are happy.”

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Man United 0-1 Barcelona: Player ratings as Scott McTominay shines and strikers flop

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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.

MANCHESTER UNITED (3-5-2)

David De Gea 7: Made one trademark save with his feet from Coutinho. Otherwise, surprisingly quiet.

Victor Lindelof 6: Loose clearance led to Coutinho’s first-half opportunity. Recovered from this error.

Chris Smalling 6: Charged through Messi and left the great man blooded. Only negative was work on ball.

Luke Shaw 5: Victim of curious management. Was all at sea for his own goal. Better after break.

Ashley Young 5: Did well to keep Coutinho quiet. Yet was absolutely appalling in possession. 11 crosses, zero accurate.

Scott McTominay 7: A growing presence. Sharp in the tackle, breaking up play diligently. Passing could have been better.

Fred 7: Has made major mistakes in previous games, but added requisite energy to Solskjaer’s press. Registered 15 recoveries.

Paul Pogba 5: Distinctly did not put “stamp” on this match, despite Solskjaer request. Real Madrid beware?

Diogo Dalot 6: Did his part in making this a quiet night for Messi. But what was he doing with that header?

Romelu Lukaku 5: Gamble to play two up-top didn’t pay off. Lukaku endured a negligible impact, having 20 touches.

Marcus Rashford 5: Frustrating performance. Got into good positions, but wasted them with wild shots.

SUBSTITUTES

Anthony Martial 6: Denied by one supreme covering tackle from ex-United starlet Pique.

Jesse Lingard 5: Picked up early booking and couldn’t get into the game.

Andreas Pereira N/A: Thrown on as United settled for a 1-0 defeat.

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