Robin van Persie and Anthony Martial react to £13m Manchester United star’s performance v Barcelona

Manchester United and Barcelona will do battle next week in a decider at Old Trafford. If the match is anything like last night’s first leg at the Nou Camp, then we are in for a treat.

We saw United go head to head with the most in-form team in Spain, and should really have won the game.

Erik ten Hag made a bold call in defence which he has used in big games before, playing Luke Shaw at centre-back and Tyrell Malacia at left-back.

The strategy worked well enough, but it’s unclear whether it will be repeated next week at Old Trafford when Lisandro Martinez is available.

Malacia praised

If Martinez does return to centre-back next week, then it will be between Malacia and Shaw for a straight up choice at left-back.

Shaw’s experience and attacking quality could see him get the nod, but Malacia gave a good account of himself at the Nou Camp.

The £13 million summer signing from Feyenoord held his own, winning four tackles, more than any player on the pitch.

He blocked one shot and won nine ground duels, winning three free-kicks.

On his Instagram page after the game, Manchester United star Anthony Martial left a message to praise his performance, while there was one from Robin van Persie, who he knows from Feyenoord.

FC Barcelona v Manchester United: Knockout Round Play-Off Leg One - UEFA Europa LeaguePhoto by MB Media/Getty Images

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Malacia has been a regular part of Erik ten Hag’s first team squad this season and coming through this test against Barcelona is another feather in his cap.

If he is called into the starting line-up next week, he will be ready. Ten Hag knows by now that he can trust Malacia to deliver.



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