Manchester United – Barcelona: Busquets: “We’re a bit behind” | Sports

The noise of Barcelona in the summer market – the Spanish team that invested the most money, 158 million euros – helps the Catalans to rule in the League. In Europe, however, the story is very different. In the Champions League, out at the first opportunity. And the same thing happened to him in the Europa League. The draw sent him to Old Trafford and Xavi’s Barcelona showed that it is still far from the powers of Europe. Lewandowki’s aim was not enough for him, nor was Busquets’ experience. And that the pivot, whose contract expires this June, accelerated the recovery from injury to add one more battle in Europe.

M United


De Gea, Varane, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka (Diogo Dalot, min. 66), Lisandro Martínez, Casemiro, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford (McTominay, min. 87), Jadon Sancho (Alejandro Garnacho, min. 66) and Wouter Weghorst (Antony, min. 45)



Ter Stegen, A. Christensen, Koundé, Ronald Araújo (Marcos Alonso, min. 81), Alex Balde, Kessié Franck, Frenkie De Jong, Busquets, Sergi Roberto (Ferrán Torres, min. 70), Raphinha (Ansu Fati, min. 75) and Lewandowski

goals 0-1 min. 17: Lewandowski. 1-1 min. 46: Fred. 2-1 min. 72: Anthony.

Referee Clement Turpin

Yellow cards Sergi Roberto (min. 59), Lewandowski (min. 71), Alejandro Garnacho (min. 77), Busquets (min. 83) and Casemiro (min. 85)

“We’ve had a good first half, but perhaps at some point we’ve fallen a bit behind and they’ve pushed,” explained Sergio Busquets at Movistar, after Barça’s defeat at Old Trafford. “In the second half, United came out much better, but we had some chances like Joules’ [Koundé] that De Gea took. It has been a pity. We have lost due to small details, not due to a lack of intensity. In the Champions League we were not up to the task and in the Europa League we played the tie against one of the fittest teams in the Premier. We are pissed off but the team is aware of the process that is coming”.

Xavi dropped 50% of his midfield to visit Old Trafford. Without Pedri’s last pass (injured) and without the contagious intensity of Gavi (suspended), the coach was not willing to lose his thermometer in the midfield: Busquets. And, for this reason, after the Badia pivot spent three games in the infirmary after his clash with En-Nesyri in the duel against Sevilla at the Camp Nou, the coach did not hesitate to send him to the field from the start against him Manchester United. Busquets, at 34, once again found the formula for Barça, from the outset, to steal the ball from United surrounded by three less positional footballers such as De Jong, Kessié and Sergi Roberto.

In the Barcelona coaching staff they explained that the duel against United and the distance in the League against Madrid (eight points difference) invited to force with Busquets. “In addition”, they emphasized; “The other alternatives we have are Pablo or placing Ferran in the square. And they have no experience in this type of match.” Busquets did not need too many talks with Xavi (the coach did correct De Jong and Kessié) to understand what the Barcelona midfielders needed at Old Trafford (Sergi Roberto started as a winger when the Catalans did not have the ball). After the initial suffocation —Ter Stegen saved a Busquets error with a difficult stop for Bruno Fernandes—, the pivot, supported in the rear by Araujo and Christensen, took control of the game. “The important thing is to have control and impose ourselves with our personality. Araujo will start at center back. For us it is more important to have a clean release of the ball than to stop Rashford”, commented the Barcelona coach before the duel.

In fact, Barcelona managed to erase Rashford during the first half. “Busi?” Xavi said; “Like the whole team. A good first half.” A moment in which he commanded the Barça team, always based on his experience, that of Busquets in the middle, also that of Lewandowski so that nobody and nothing will faze her when she stood up from 11 meters to face De Gea. While the VAR reviewed Bruno Fernandes’ penalty on Alejandro Balde, Weghorst approached the Pole from behind. The Barca striker did not even look at the Dutchman. With his eyes on the ground and hugging the ball, Lewandowski let time pass, immune to Weghorst’s words

Weghorst waged psychological warfare with Lewandowski. It is not the first time that the Dutchman has had a controversial moment. In the last World Cup, the name of Manchester United’s 27th came to the fore when he faced Messi in the mixed zone after the match between the Netherlands and Argentina in the quarterfinals. Then, the Dutchman who, according to him, had come to greet the Albiceleste captain, was reprimanded by the current PSG player. The phrase has already gone down in history: “What look silly, go over there”. The Pole, in any case, turned a deaf ear.

Antony and Garnacho

However, neither the tranquility of Lewandowski nor the wisdom of Busquets were enough for Barcelona to stop United after passing through the locker room. Ten Hag shook up the eleven, sent Antony and Garnacho to the field and Manchester didn’t even need Rashford anymore. Then, Busquets began to run after the ball. And few things bother the Barca 5 more. Impotent as Barcelona, ​​he showed his frustration in a strong hold on Garnacho to stop the Red Devils’ counterattack. Barça says goodbye to Europe this season, as does Busquets, in what will probably be his last battle on the continent. It was, at least, at the mythical Old Trafford.

“We haven’t been up to the task in Europe”, lamented Xavi after the game; “Next year we will try again. Now we have to concentrate on the competitions we have left [Liga y Copa]. The best thing is that on Sunday we already have a league game against Almería”.

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