Barcelona 'have a problem in midfield' ahead of Man Utd return leg – Sergi Roberto

By Sports Desk February 17, 2023

Sergi Roberto accepts Barcelona "have a problem in midfield" ahead of their return leg at Manchester United due to Pedri and Gavi being ruled out.

The sides played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Camp Nou on Thursday to leave their Europa League play-off tie in the balance heading into next week's second leg.

Barca rallied from behind, having earlier let slip a lead of their own, but it came at a cost as Pedri limped off with a hamstring injury that is expected to rule him out for a month.

Meanwhile, fellow central midfielder Gavi received a yellow card, with that his third in Europe this season, resulting in an automatic suspension for the game at Old Trafford.

Xavi's options are further limited as Sergio Busquets is also nursing an injury, but versatile defender Sergi Roberto is happy to fill the void if called upon.

"We hope that Pedri's injury won't be too serious, so he can be back on the pitch as soon as possible," Sergi Roberto said.

"But it's true that we have a problem in midfield now, especially in the Europa League, because Gavi can't play. We don't know yet if Pedri can. 

"I will be willing to play in any position the coach wants me to. Either in the midfield or as winger. The coach knows I am at his disposal for wherever he needs me."

Pedri in particular has been hugely influential for Barca this season, with no player in LaLiga winning more points for their side (10 points with six goals).

The youngster left the field against United with the game still goalless, but Marcos Alonso opened the scoring for Barca early in the second half.

Marcus Rashford's 22nd goal of the season – equalling his career-best tally in the 2019-20 campaign – and a Jules Kounde own goal had United in front nine minutes later.

But Raphinha levelled for the hosts in rather fortuitous circumstances in the 76th minute to leave the tie delicately poised ahead of the return match in Manchester.

"A win wasn't to be, so to draw is better than losing," Sergi Roberto said. "My team really competed right until the end. 

"It's true that when you have a win in the bag, the second leg looks better. It was a night when both teams had lots of chances. Next week we'll have to improve.

"United are a team who love having the ball and that's made it a very interesting match. What a shame we couldn't win it."

LaLiga leaders Barcelona are now unbeaten in all six of their home games against United (W3 D3).

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