Despite missing out on La Liga and the Champions League last season, Barcelona remain the team to beat in Mike Phelan's eyes.
The Catalan giants are expected to feature the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta in their star-studded line-up in Gothenburg with the pass masters posing an awesome threat to any side. After losing to Barca in both the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals, everybody at United is aware that the challenge is to close the gap on the Camp Nou outfit.
"I think there is a gap there," conceded assistant manager Phelan. "But there's a gap for a lot of teams, not just United.
"Barcelona have been exceptional - they've combined experience and youth and maintained success. The challenge for us is to compete. It will take time but we're not that far away. We've been in three European finals and we've won one. Now we're hungry to continue that. Barcelona are the ones to catch."
Phelan is looking forward to a high-profile friendly and having Sir Alex Ferguson back alongside him in the dug-out after the boss missed the draw against Valerenga.
"It's a great game to have," he added on MUTV. "It's unusual to have it in another country but that's the way it's worked out. I hope we can put a spectacle on for the supporters who are turning up. The manager will be back for the game. He's travelling over and will be with the team soon and ready for the Barcelona game."