FC Barcelona manager Xavi has a short but severe list of injury concerns heading into Thursday’s Europa League playoff clash at Manchester United.
Man United vs FC Barcelona UEL FYIs
Kickoff: Thu Feb 23, 8pm GMT, Old Trafford
Competition: Europa League, Round of 16, Leg 2/2, Aggregate Score 2-2
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Team News: United Barca
Xavi said to Marca: “Frenkie de Jong and Robert Lewandowski played more minutes. I think they have been playing a lot of minutes, that’s why I made the changes.
“The other day Pedri was injured, and we can’t afford more injuries. Let’s prepare for Thursday’s game from tomorrow and see how tired they are.”
So in other words, Pedri is out while De Jong and Lewandowski are doubts. That’s a bummer for De Jong, as this is basically “his game.”
Or at least this is the 2022 Summer Transfer Window Saga Cup, as De Jong to United was the transfer narrative that just wouldn’t die. It may have been the most tedious transfer saga of all-time not named David de Gea to Real Madrid.
Moving on, Ousmane Dembele has missed the the last five due to a hamstring injury, and looks likely to be sidelined again here.
Xavi said in respect to the Frenchman: “He’s doing some work on the training ground. He is working with the medical staff and he will return to the group when he feels ready.”
Elsewhere Sergio Busquets is back to match fitness after having missed the first leg with an ankle injury. Finally, Gavi is out, with a suspension, after drawing yellow last time out.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
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