Monumental task for United

Sports | 12 Apr 2019

Manchester United's powers of recovery carried them to a first Champions League quarter-final in five years but even Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits beating Barcelona at Nou Camp is maybe one mountain too many to climb.

Unlike their experience in losing the first leg of their last-16 tie on home soil 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain, United were not outclassed by the Catalan giants in a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

However, on a night when Lionel Messi was left bloodied by a charging Chris Smalling and had little impact after playing his part in creating Luke Shaw's 12th-minute own goal, Barca were still comfortable winners.

"Messi received a black eye and a bloodied nose but Manchester United did not lay a glove on Barcelona," was the verdict of the Daily Telegraph.

Implausibly, Solskjaer's men turned the PSG tie around with a famous 3-1 victory in Paris, but the task of overturning a home defeat against a side of serial Champions League winners is an even tougher one. "It will be a greater achievement winning that one with the history of Barcelona," said Solskjaer. "They are not used to losing at home."

Barca have not lost a Champions League game at Nou Camp since 2013, racking up 27 wins and three draws.

Against Barcelona, the hosts did not even manage a single shot on target. "Those statistics are not bright are they?" Solskjaer admitted. "We cannot defend that, not scoring goals at home.

"But away from home we beat Juventus, we beat PSG and we have to go to Barcelona and win that one."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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