Erik ten Hag says Manchester United’s Europa League comeback victory over Barcelona proves they “can beat anyone.”
The Europa League playoff tie was finely poised heading into the second leg at Old Trafford after last week’s 2-2 draw at Camp Nou but the visitors took the lead from the penalty spot inside the first 20 minutes thanks to Robert Lewandowski.
But Barcelona, who dropped down to this competition from the Champions League, again faltered on the European stage as Fred equalised early after the break, before Antony clinched the late-winner.
“Magnificent night,” said Ten Hag, who has turned around United’s fortunes in his first season in charge at Old Trafford.
“That is another step because when you can beat Barcelona, your belief can be really strong because you are then able to beat anyone.”
The fact that two of Europe’s heavyweights were competing at this level of Europe’s second tier competition demonstrated that both had fallen into a downward spiral in recent times.
But United seem to have turned a corner under their new Dutch boss, and are riding on positive winning momentum as they remain in the hunt for trophies on all four fronts.
United had been cagey in the first half but, inspired by some electric substitutions, netted twice in a pulsating second-half display to claim a massive scalp over Barcelona, and progress to the next round.
“I think we have some great personalities in this team,” added Ten Hag.
“Everyone has such a strong belief in this team, you can see it. With the subs they bring energy and quality, they bring a different dynamic in games.”
The Red Devils will look end a six-year wait for silverware when they face high-flying Newcastle in the League Cup final on Sunday.