Messi can't be contained but Barcelona aren't as good as they were, says Man Utd legend Scholes

Comments()
Getty Images
The former Red Devils midfielder admits that stopping fearsome forwards will be difficult for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, but they are capable

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will be difficult for Manchester United to contain in the Champions League, concedes Paul Scholes, but Barcelona are considered to be not “as good as they were”.

The Red Devils are set to face La Liga heavyweights at the quarter-final stage in continental competition this week.

It could be argued that they have been handed the toughest of draws, with Ernesto Valverde boasting a star-studded squad at Camp Nou headed up by a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Scholes, though, believes that there are weaknesses in Barcelona’s game outside of a fearsome attacking unit, with the Catalan outfit not the force they were when sweeping aside United in the 2009 and 2011 finals.

A Red Devils legend told Premier League Productions of the challenge facing the Old Trafford class of 2019: “I don’t think Barcelona are as good as they were.

“When we went into it, we knew if we got 25 per cent possession we’d be happy. 

“It was all about concentration. So many quality players, Messi, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta of that era. 

“I don’t think they have that many players as good as them but still they’ve got some real quality. 

Lionel Messi Luis Suarez Barcelona Champions League 2018-19

“Can you keep Messi quiet? Not sure you can. Suarez as well.

“I think that’s gone. If we were looking at that then Barca would have the advantage from what’s happened in the past. 

“I don’t think many people expect United to go through this tie so that could help them a bit. 

“They’ve got some quality, United, some really good forward players. 

Article continues below

“It’s just at the other end, can they stop them scoring goals? Especially at Old Trafford.”

United will be looking to prove that they can keep Barcelona quiet when playing host to Messi and Co on Wednesday.

They will then switch their attention to domestic duties and the ongoing pursuit of a top-four finish in the Premier League during a meeting with West Ham before heading to Camp Nou for the second leg of a Champions League last-eight showdown on April 16.

Close