Man Utd face BIG Barcelona disadvantage because of Man City and UEFA | Football | Sport


That’s the verdict of ex-Manchester City defender and Sky Sports pundit Danny Mills.

The Red Devils were paired with La Liga leaders Barcelona in a mouthwatering last-eight contest after Friday’s draw.

United were drawn out of the pot second, pitting them at home against the Spanish heavyweights in the return lig.

Yet per UEFA rules, Man City’s clash with Tottenham means United’s games have had to be switched.

Regulations mean two teams cannot play home matches in the same city on the same night or consecutive nights.

And with both United and City having been due to play at Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium in their respective second legs, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have seen their ties reversed.

That is because City finished higher in the Premier League last season, as they won the title by finishing 19 points clear of their neighbours.

As such, United will be forced to face Barca in Manchester on April 10 before travelling to Catalonia for the return contest on April 16.

Man City will meanwhile host top-flight rivals Spurs in an all-English showdown on April 9 before the second leg on April 17.

Playing at home first ultimately did not matter in the previous round for United as they came from 2-0 down to go through on away goals courtesy of a 3-1 away win and a 3-3 aggregate draw.

Yet Barca have only ever lost at the Nou Camp to an English team once in their entire history – to Liverpool in February 2007 – of 41 matches and are unbeaten on home soil in the continental competition since May 2013.

Asked whether the fixture switch will have any impact on the tie, Mills told The Debate on Sky Sports: “Massively. 

“I think it’s tough on Manchester United because you want to be at home second leg. 

“Generally the first leg is a little bit more cagey, both teams are a little bit more reserved. 

“It tends to be a little bit closer so therefore you want your home game with your home fans second so you have that advantage going into that, especially if you can nick an away goal. 

“It’s a big disadvantage. I don’t understand why – it’s one of those UEFA rules, whatever. 

“It’s a city of four million people, there’s only an extra 50,000 coming in – you should be able to deal with that.

“I think it’s 30 games Barcelona haven’t lost at home in the Champions League. It’s a formidable place to go.

“That’s going to be difficult and I look at United’s defence and think, can they keep a clean sheet? I’m not sure they can. Barcelona rely on Messi massively but they’re still exceptionally good.

“If Barca nick an away goal or two in the first leg, are they [United] going to be able to turn it around again like they did against PSG? I’m not sure they can do it twice this season.

“Barcelona are very, very strong at home. United will have to win the first leg maybe 2-0 if they’re going to go through.” 

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