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Ahead Of Showdown With Barcelona At Old Trafford, Ten Hag Is Unfazed

Erik ten Hag is unfazed by crunch clashes early in his Manchester United career, with the Dutchman insistent success must be measured by silverware.United face Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off clash on Thursday, just three days before the EFL Cup final against Newcastle.Having failed to win a trophy since 2017, Ten Hag has his side fighting on four fronts for success this season.The ex-Ajax boss welcomes such major matches inside the first year of his tenure at Old Trafford.”We all want to play big games, big matches,” he said. “When we are young, we dream of it.We are now in a position through February [to have] big games coming up.”We really enjoy it.

We are really looking forward to it. We’re really excited, and we have to give our best, because we want to match with the best.”Having played out a thrilling 2-2 draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou last week, United’s success saw them come close to inflicting only a second home loss of the season upon the Blaugrana.Asked if he feels his side are getting their dues for their turnaround, however, Ten Hag remained adamant that an improvement in results cannot be the end goal for him at the club.”It is not about credit, it is about trophies,” he added. “We have to keep in the same mindset, every day we want to give a better version of ourselves.”Tomorrow we have to give the best performance of the season, [and] we [have to] believe in it.”United are set to welcome back Harry Maguire and Antony for the clash, though Anthony Martial is unavailable for the hosts ahead of their trip to Wembley this weekend too.Barcelona are set to be without several key faces in Pedri and Gavi too, but Ten Hag is not underestimating the visitors despite their absences.”I don’t know what [Barca coach] Xavi is thinking,” he said. “Their squad has so much depth that they have players who can replace them.”Tomorrow, it will be a very good team. If we want to win, we have to be at our best.”

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