Former Manchester United boss has given an insight into what will be going through Lionel Messi’s mind going into the game at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho sees no reason why Manchester United can’t topple Barcelona in the Champions League having beaten Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the competition. The Portuguese was still in charge of the Old Trafford club when they scored two late goals to record a remarkable victory in Turin during the group stages, but he’d been replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by the time of the last-16 victory over PSG.
Both of those victories were away however, and Mourinho has also warned that the added motivation of playing at Old Trafford – a stadium where he’s never scored – could inspire Lionel Messi in Wednesday night’s first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.
“United this season was capable to win against Juventus and against PSG why not to do it against Barcelona?” Mourinho told RT , for whom he’s been working as a pundit since his United dismissal in December. But Barca will be aware of that, will respect United and Old Trafford and Messi will want to leave his footprint in a mythical stadium.”United defender Chris Smalling insists his teammates are “excited” about the challenge of facing Barca.
“We were all excited,” he told United’s official club magazine . “As soon as it came out, we were all happy. We cheered and then we got on with training. But at least we knew who was in front of us. When the draw was made, you think, ‘I want to play against teams like this.’ I was injured or just coming back from being injured for the first game [of the last 16 against PSG], so it was nice to be able to test yourself against the best, and I think PSG are one of the best teams in the world.”
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