Ten Hag's rallying cry to United supporters

Thursday 23 February 2023 10:00

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag wants the Old Trafford crowd to roar his team on again in Thursday's Europa League play-off second leg against Barcelona.

The manager is loving the backing provided by the fans, most recently in Sunday's Premier League win over Leicester City, and is anticipating a special atmosphere for the meeting with one of Europe's greats.

After the Nou Camp appreciated a classic 2-2 draw last week, it is the turn of the Theatre of Dreams to shake to its rafters and raise the decibel levels in a bid to get the Reds over the line against a team well clear at the top of La Liga.

Following a request from fans, the music will be turned off inside the ground at 19:45 GMT, 15 minutes before kick-off, so the atmosphere can really start to build.

As we look to maximise our home advantage, there is a hope spectators will be in their seats by then to sing their hearts out and show maximum support for Erik's men.

The teams will then enter the pitch to a raucous reception as we look to ensure a place in Friday's last-16 draw and recreate the unforgettable European nights of the past when Old Trafford has been rocking before, during and after the match.

"You can hear it in the stands," Ten Hag says in his column in Thursday's United Review, the official matchday programme. "That the fans feel a connection with this team and the feeling is mutual.

"We are all on a journey together, moving forward game-by-game and, tonight, we need the fans, as well as the players, to be at the top of their game, if we are to create a memorable night at Old Trafford."

This was a message reiterated by the boss when he discussed the match in an exclusive interview with club media, and was asked if he knew of two Barcelona games when the atmosphere inside M16 was one to tell your grandchildren about - the 1984 European Cup Winners' Cup comeback and the 2008 Champions League semi-final, featuring the famous Paul Scholes strike.

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"I think we have to make a bond together, the fans and the players," he added. "We have to keep the process going. It’s great at Old Trafford, and at away games, and you feel it, the vibe between the fans and players. We have to keep working on it."

In terms of those classic matches with the Catalans, Erik replied: "I have seen but I did [only] have a glimpse from those games. But it must have been [like that]. What we want to do is build a new future.

"We know Barcelona is a big team, it’s a big club, but we are really excited to face them. We really want to go for this chance. That is what counts."

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The expectation is that the fans who are lucky enough to be at the game on Thursday make their presence count too, as we strive to pull off a notable European victory together.