Football News: David de Gea admits Man Utd "didn't want" to draw Barcelona in Europa League

Updated: Nov 10

Manchester United have been pitted against Barcelona in the Europa League knockout play-off round and will take on the Blaugrana for a spot in the last 16 over two legs


David de Gea has confessed Manchester United would rather have avoided Barcelona after being drawn against the Catalan giants in the Europa League.


The Red Devils will face Barca over two knockout play-off legs in February as they bid to reach the last 16 of Europe's secondary competition. The Blaugrana dropped down to the Europa League after finishing third in a Champions League group also containing Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen.


Despite being less than convincing in their clash with Osasuna on Tuesday night, Barca have been in fine form domestically this season and lead La Liga, although they have played one more game than Real Madrid. De Gea admits United have been drawn against one of the "best teams" but insists he and his teammates will rise to the challenge in search of continental glory.


"We know Barcelona is a great team, I think they are playing well," the Spanish goalkeeper told Manchester United's official website. "If you want to win the Europa League, you have to play against the best teams and Barcelona is [one of these]. It's one for the fans and we will try our best to win both games."


De Gea added: "I think so [it's a good test]. There's still a lot of time [before we have] to play the Europa League games so we have to be focused on the rest of the games [before then].


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"Of course, playing against the best teams is always a challenge, so we need to be very ready to play against Barcelona and to play against any team that we have to play against."


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Although Barcelona are a leading contender to lift the Europa League at Budapest's Puskas Arena in May, their midweek clash at Osasuna was a chaotic one. Robert Lewandowski was sent off for a flying elbow with just over half an hour on the clock, following David Garcia's opener for the hosts.


Gerard Pique, who recently announced his retirement from football, received a red card at the interval for lambasting the officials, meaning he did not come off the bench to make one final appearance for the club. However, despite playing with 10 men, Barca drew level shortly after the interval through Pedri.


Ahead of the match, Blaugrana boss Xavi declared United have "grown a lot" under Erik ten Hag as he gave his verdict on the Europa League draw. "It is the toughest rival, once again, in the Europa League," the Spain legend said. "We will have to compete, it's a massive challenge for us. Our players will probably be more motivated against a strong team and we will have to compete."


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Date: 9/11/2022

Location: Malaysia

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