David de Gea has shared his thoughts on Manchester United being drawn against Barcelona in an exciting Europa League play-off tie.
The Red Devils were pitted against Barca after failing to top their Europa League group – that honour went to Real Sociedad as a result of a superior goal difference.
Barcelona, meanwhile, dropped out of the Champions League after failing to overcome Bayern Munich and Inter, in arguably the most difficult group of this season’s competition.
The Europa League has introduced a new play-off round, pitching the runners-up against the teams that finished third in their Champions League group, and United drew Barcelona in the draw that was made at UEFA’s headquarters on Monday.
It’s arguably the hardest draw that De Gea and his teammates could have received, but the former Atletico Madrid stopper has no qualms with coming up against quality opposition at this stage of the tournament.
“We know Barcelona is a great team, I think they are playing well,” De Gea told United’s official website. “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.”
De Gea added that he’s aware it will be a big challenge for United, but was keen to stress the importance of focusing on every other game in the build-up to the tie.
“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.”