Manchester United legend Denis Irwin has sent a warning on Robert Lewandowski ahead of the club’s Europa League meeting against Barcelona on Thursday evening.
The Red Devils take on the Blaugrana in the knockout play-off round of the competition and they will be travelling to the Camp Nou for the first leg in two day’s time.
Ahead of the encounter, Irwin has said that United’s centre-halves must be wary of the ‘brilliant’ Lewandowski, who has been scoring plenty of goals this season.
The 34-year-old star made the surprise decision to leave Bayern Munich for Barcelona last summer, but has shown no signs of slowing down with 29 goal contributions.
Irwin told the club’s media: “There’s no doubt that the centre-halves, whoever plays, are well aware of his capabilities. He’s had a fantastic career. He was brilliant at Bayern Munich and it took him a long time to get the plaudits that he deserved.”
“He’s doing it again at Barcelona and playing very well. He’s got great experience – he’s one of those players that it doesn’t matter what age, he will always score goals. Our defenders, particularly the two centre-halves, will have to be on their toes.
“But Barcelona as a whole are a great attacking team, they score plenty of goals. Whoever plays in that defence will have to play as a unit and make sure that we don’t concede too many chances.”
United must nullify Lewandowski’s goalscoring threat
Lewandowski is widely regarded as one of the world’s best strikers and he has had another exceptional campaign despite the decision to switch clubs.
Barcelona have plenty of star-studded attackers in their squad, but it can’t be denied that the Poland international will be the main scoring threat.
His strong aerial ability and finishing in the box could provide a big test for United’s central defenders.
Raphael Varane will obviously start at the heart of the defence after being rested against Leeds United and it remains to be seen who partners him.
With Lisandro Martinez suspended, Luke Shaw seems the most likely candidate to accompany the Frenchman if Erik ten Tag wants a left-footed option.
Shaw has been quite effective from the makeshift role, but Thursday’s outing could possibly provide the biggest challenge for him in the position thus far.
Meanwhile, Barcelona should have a similar headache on their hands with Marcus Rashford playing at the peak of his powers for the Red Devils at the moment.
Similar to Lewandowski, Rashford has 29 goal involvements this term. In our view, Ten Hag should play him up front with Wout Weghorst being benched.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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