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Xavi brands United star ‘one of the most dangerous in Europe’ ahead of Europa League clash

The Barcelona boss was quizzed on his opponents ahead of the tie

Barcelona boss Xavi has branded Manchester United star Marcus Rashford ‘one of the most dangerous in Europe’ ahead of the side’s clashing on Thursday afternoon.

The Englishman has been in fine form since the World Cup ended, with eight goals in nine Premier League games since the mid-season break finished, and has powered Manchester United into third place, just two points behind Manchester City despite having played a game more.

And, speaking ahead of the game, Xavi was full of praise for the forward.

‘He’s is one of the most dangerous players in Europe, I would fully agree,’ the Barcelona boss explained in the lead-up to the Europa League first leg. ‘He is very fast, a good dribbler one versus one, and dangerous in the transition.’

However, the Spaniard was quick to point to other threats that the Red Devils had, stressing that the Spanish side could not simply focus on the Englishman.

‘It’s not like we are expecting only one player. We have assessed what they do and how quick they are on the transition, with (Alejandro) Garnacho, (Jadon) Sancho and (Wout) Weghorst. The counter strike is very quick. They have strong legs, so we need players who are capable of correcting the fast breaks.

Barcelona will be keen to take a firm grip on the tie on Thursday at Camp Nou, with Erik ten Hag’s side down to the bare bones in many areas.

None of Antony, Scott McTominay or Anthony Martial have travelled to Barcelona after missing training on Wednesday morning, while both Lisandro Martinez and January signing Marcel Sabitzer are suspended for the clash, though Casemiro will return in a boost to the Red Devil ranks.

Jadon Sancho is expected to start in place of Antony, while Casemiro and Fred are the only available midfield pairing for the Red Devils and Wout Weghorst is set to continue his role up front despite plenty of questions about his ability to lead the line for Manchester United in recent weeks.

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Michael Smith

Content Manager on 101 Great Goals. Experienced punter, from back street, smoke filled betting shops in the 2000s, to state of the art, dedicated betting apps of the 2020s. Covering the gambling industry with expert opinion and looking at the latest innovations.

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