Manchester United have their work cut out ahead of their trip to the Nou Camp after a Luke Shaw own goal saw Barcelona leave Manchester with a crucial lead. Both sides weren’t at their fluid best but Barca did just enough to complete the job and go back to Spain with a precious result.
United threatened at times but lacked the end product as they failed to muster a single shot on target, something they will need to address quickly if they have any aspirations of repeating their PSG heroics. Meanwhile, the Catalans will be the favorites going into the game and confident of their chances of progressing into the semi-finals of the competition.
For now, let us discuss the three reasons why Barcelona managed to clinch an important win in Manchester:
#1 Early Pressure and Possession
The initial stages of the game saw Barcelona dominate the ball and Manchester United defended deep and let the Catalans enjoy the major share of possession. As they played a low block it became increasingly difficult for Solskjaer’s side to construct any meaningful attack and they looked to play long to Lukaku who was tasked to hold up the ball and bring his strike partner Marcus Rashford or the furthest attacking midfielder Paul Pogba into the game.
This tactic of containing Barca, and then hitting them on the break worked for precisely 11 minutes as Messi and co found a way to score as they always do. Sergio Busquets breached open United’s defence with a lofted diagonal pass that found Messi’s well-timed run who did well to bring it down before picking out Luis Suarez at the backpost with a moment of brilliance.