Barça brace for Old Trafford showdown without Pedri, Gavi

Manchester/Barcelona, Feb 22 (EFE).- FC Barcelona will be without young stars Pedro and Gavi as they look to end a 2-2 standoff against a resurgent Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The Catalans are in town for the second-leg of the Europa League playoffs after the teams eked out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Spotify Camp Nou last week.

The result leaves the second leg wide open, although Barça will be without some of their key talent against a revitalized United, whose own stars Marcus Rashford and company have hit a run of top form.

Erik ten Hag, speaking at a pre-match press conference Wednesday, noted Barça’s absences, describing Gavi – suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards – and Pedri – out injured – as “great players” beyond their youth, and relished the upcoming clash of the titans.

“We all want to play big games, big matches. When we were young we dreamed of it,” he said.

The Red Devils’s recent turnaround under the Dutch manager has helped them climb the Premier League table to third place and reach the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United on Sunday.

“We have the opportunity (…) but the first focus point is always the next game,” he told reporters, dismissing notions that the club had not been given due credit for its late run of form.

“It’s about trophies,” he insisted.

Man United are currently three points behind cross-city rivals Manchester City in second place.

Barcelona, meanwhile, sit atop LaLiga following a similar change of fortunes under manager and club legend Xavi. EFE


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