Manchester United 'can beat anyone' after Barcelona win, says Erik ten Hag

United are still in the hunt for four trophies thanks to substitute Antony, who scored the winning goal after Fred's strike had cancelled out Robert Lewandowski's first-half penalty

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Erik ten Hag says Manchester United "can beat anyone" after seeing his side beat Spanish giants Barcelona 2-1 to seal a place in the Europa League last-16.

United are still in the hunt for four trophies thanks to substitute Antony, who scored the winning goal after Fred's strike had cancelled out Robert Lewandowski's first-half penalty.

Victory at Old Trafford over a team eight points clear at the top of La Liga meant United took the tie 4-3 on aggregate and puts their hat in the ring for Friday's draw.

“It was a magnificent night,” Ten Hag said. “I think it is brilliant when you can beat Barcelona, eight points ahead of Real Madrid in La Liga and we have seen in this week Real Madrid playing.

“We have the potential to beat the big teams, we have shown we can beat [Manchester] City, we can beat Arsenal, we can beat Liverpool. If we do the right things, if we follow the rules, if we follow principles and show discipline and team spirit, I think this team can achieve a lot."

Man United v Barcelona ratings

Brazilian forward Antony scored the winner against Barcelona after coming on as a substitute at half time for the ineffectual Wout Weghorst.

"Everyone has such a strong belief in this team and the fight in this team," Ten Hag said. "You can see it with the subs, they are coming on and bringing energy and quality and a different dynamic in games.

"I think all the subs, not only in this game but in many games before, did brilliantly."

Barcelona had one foot in the last-16 draw as they controlled the first half, but only had Lewandowski’s penalty to show for it.

They were unable to match United’s intensity after the break, but boss Xavi did not leave too disappointed.

Barcelona head coach Xavi. Getty Images

“I think we lacked that calm and patience, we started the second half really badly, we were dominating the game and controlling it,” he said.

“We needed more more patience and more game management, we lost some duels and those finer details in the second half.

“We could have been more intense, we have lost a couple of duels, but in my point of view we lacked a little bit in our game. We were without Gavi and Pedro and in the second half that is where you saw the difference.

“In general we can be proud with how we have competed and shown our face against a really big side. It is a shame because we had an excellent first half. Now we need to concentrate on the league and cup.”

Updated: February 24, 2023, 4:35 AM
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