Barcelona Ernesto Valverde has given Jose Mourinho’s stars an eve of season double boost – by tipping them as contenders to win the Premier League AND Champions League.
And Valverde, who saw his unsettled Brazilian striker Neymar score a first half goal against Manchester United at the FedExField in front of 80,162 fans to triumph 1-0, hopes Barcelona avoid Mourinho and his stars as long as possible in the Champions League.
Neymar’s strike turned out to be the winner despite a competitive display from a United side who matched Barcelona and went close with Marcus Rashford hitting the post in the first half.
But new Barca boss Valverde saw enough from United to know they will be challenging for the major prizes – at home and abroad.
And he gave Mourinho’s men a ringing endorsement that serves as warning to the rest of the Premier League.
“Obviously United haven’t been well lately, even though they won the Europa League,” said Valverde.
“This year they are going to be in the Champions League. So their presence by itself is impressive. They impress me.
“I think they are going to be a really hard team to beat. For me, they are contenders to win and they are going to be hard to beat in the Premier League and the Champions League.
“I wouldn’t want to face them in the Champions League.”