Lionel Messi:’He generally delivers’ – Valverde expects big things against Manchester United

Lionel Messi:’He generally delivers’ – Valverde expects big things against Manchester United

The director is banking on a significant display from his celebrity with Ousmane Dembele possibly to overlook.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is anticipating big things from Lionel Messi in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Manchester United.

The LaLiga leaders head to Old Trafford for the first leg of the quarter-final tie searching for a result that will keep their treble struggle living.

Messi has scored 22 Champions League aims against English teams — greater than any other participant in the background of this contest – but he hasn’t managed one goal in some of his past 11 quarter-final outings.

But, Valverde is convinced Messi will be prepared to impress against a team he’s double scored against in the final of the competition, in 2009 and 2011.

“Messi is the player he is. I know that all players and managers start looking for a means to stop him” Valverde told a news conference on Tuesday. 

“We all know sometimes there are tactics to neutralise players. We’ll see whether it is possible. We expect a great deal from Leo and that he generally delivers.”

Messi may be under special pressure to do given that there are still doubts over the fitness of Ousmane Dembele, that hasn’t yet been granted the medical all-clear after a hamstring injury suffered in the past -16 second-leg triumph over Lyon.

“I do not know. We’ll see how he’s in this day’s training,” Valverde said when asked if Dembele is prepared to perform.

“No matter it is not exactly the exact same scenario as Lyon, it is not the next leg. We need to take note that, because last match, we possibly forced it a bit. We will not run that danger this moment.

“We will see tomorrow. We will not rush into any conclusions. We do not understand what the competitions will do. I believe both teams will continue to perform at how they’ve been lately .”

United was on that a resurgent streak of form beneath Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before enduring three defeats in their last four games in all competitions.

However Valverde believes their magnificent 3-1 defeat of Paris Saint-Germain in their final Champions League outing — an outcome which sent them in the quarter-finals on out targets – reveals how dangerous they may be.

“Manchester United are a team that have a lot more items than set-pieces,” he explained. 

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“We understand they are very powerful in that aspect, but they are an opponent that have been gaining strength from what they have been doing. They come into this game with high morale, needing to reveal what they can do, and needing to undergo. We need to be cautious with set-pieces, counter-attacks, and also the effect that the fans can have.

“After we obtained United from the draw, they’d only knocked out PSG. I believe this was a powerful sign. We believed they’d be a challenging opponent.

“What do I expect? If they perform in your home, press large, they are a powerful team. Possibly, they’ll do this since their lovers will them to perform it. However, you can not always push large, and you can not always drop back. You need to locate alternative methods to perform.”



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