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Marcus Rashford acclaimed as ‘one of the most dangerous players in Europe’ by Barcelona gaffer Xavi

Xavi is fearful of Marcus Rashford. Photo: Reuters© REUTERS


Barcelona coach Xavi has been impressed by the way Erik ten Hag has transformed Manchester United and helped turn Marcus Rashford into “one of the most dangerous players” in Europe.

Two of the world’s biggest clubs go toe-to-toe tonight at the Nou Camp in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off.

La Liga leaders Barca are running amok domestically and host a United side in fine form under Ten Hag, who has helped turn the Old Trafford giants around after a wretched 2021-22 season.

The Dutchman has changed the culture and quality on the field since joining from Ajax in the summer, impressing counterpart Xavi – another inspired by the late, great Johan Cruyff.

“Ten Hag is a great coach,” the Barca boss said. “In my mind, I believe that somehow (reversing) the situation of United was no easy task, and he’s accomplishing it.

“They are excited again, the club, the fanbase and also the way they play does a lot. He changes things offensively, defensively, everyone’s working very well, so it’s a tough rival for us, and he’s a very interesting coach.”

​The Europa League tie between the in-form clubs could be decided on fine margins, with Xavi wary of the threat posed by in-form forward Rashford, who has scored 13 goals in 15 games.

“We need to take care of all of them, but especially Rashford. He’s one of the most dangerous players now in Europe, yeah,” Xavi said.

Injury means Barca will be without Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele, but Frenkie de Jong could have a key role to play against a club that tried to sign him in the summer.

Antony, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay are absent from Ten Hag’s 21-man squad due to injury. Christian Eriksen and Donny Van De Beek are also missing. Marcel Sabitzer is suspended but Casemiro is available, as his suspension only impacts domestic games.

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