De Gea: Beat the best to be the best
David De Gea says Manchester United must beat the best sides in Europe if we are to achieve continental glory and he classes Barcelona as one of the top teams.
De Gea, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Monday, can look forward to a return to his homeland in February, with United facing the Catalans at Camp Nou on Thursday 16 February (17:45 GMT kick-off).
That’s the first leg of our Europa League play-off tie, with Xavi’s side visiting Old Trafford the following week.
Barca are currently top of La Liga, having won 11 of their 13 games so far this season, and despite the difficulty of the opposition, David sees it as an obvious glamour tie for supporters to relish in the new year.
“We know Barcelona is a great team, I think they are playing well,” De Gea told us.
“If you want to win the Europa League, you have to play against the best teams and Barcelona is [one of these].
“It’s one for the fans and we will try our best to win both games.”
Barcelona are one of the eight teams dropping into the Europa League, with a defeat to Internazionale in Italy ultimately proving terminal to their hopes of progressing from Champions League Group C.
Despite the quality of the sides entering the competition from the Champions League, the last four editions of the Europa League have been won by sides starting the season in the tournament, a run De Gea will hope continues.
“Yeah, I think so [it's a good test]. There’s still a lot of time [before we have] to play the Europa League games so we have to be focused on the rest of the games [before then].
“Of course, playing against the best teams is always a challenge, so we need to be very ready to play against Barcelona and to play against any team that we have to play against.”
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