Spanish giants Barcelona are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations to face Manchester United, in the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League Quarter finals’ fixture scheduled for April 10th, at the Old Trafford.
With Lionel Messi in prime form and Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Sergio Busquets and so on forming a formidable lineup, boss Valverde’s woes will mostly be on the Blaugranas’ defence, which has the tendency to form dangerous holes in crucial occasions.
But Robert Fernandez, former technical secretary at Barcelona believes that they have a special person who is not only skilled enough to lead the Barca backline, but also has the experience of having done it before – with success – against a nearly-same Manchester United side – Clement Lenglet.
Fernandez was responsible for Lenglet’s signing with Barca last season, and as of latest, he revealed as to how the former Sevilla star can curb Romelu Lukaku’s attacking instincts with relative ease. He was speaking to Goal in an interview.
“We had been following him since he played at Nancy,” he said. “After seeing him improve at Sevilla it just confirmed that he could be an important player for us.”
“For me it was important that the new centre-back was a calm but fun guy, good with the ball and young – that was fundamental – but above all we were looking for someone who was very responsible and professional,” he remembered.
“In those two games [for Sevilla in the Champions League last season] against Man United, he was very good individually. He also marked Romelu Lukaku who is a good, strong forward, one-on-one with ease.”
“The guy’s blood is ice cold in situations where others would be having palpitations. He’s an exceptional player in that respect because he knows when to put on the breaks and be calm in tense situations,” he further added, before concluding:
“That’s just the kind of player that Barcelona needs, someone capable of making clear decisions in nervy situations.”
With Lenglet clearly a part of Ernesto Valverde’s first team in the United game, it is expected that the defender will definitely be a headache to Manchester United’s attackers, just as Fernandez clarified above.