The biggest positive that Manchester United can take outof Wednesday’s defeat by Barcelona is that they only lost by one goal.
Uniteddid not do enough at Old Trafford to deserve anything from the first leg oftheir quarter-final, but thescoreline means they still have achance in this tie.
Ofcourse, beating Barca in their own back yard is going to be extremely difficultbut I believe United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got the tools to do it.
Ifthey have a positive attitude, then they can put Barcelona under pressure – wesaw that for spells of this first leg.
Unitedonly need one goal to level things up and I don’t even think they need to scoreit early on.
Foras long as the score stays at 1-0 on aggregate, United will be in the tie andthey will retain a glimmer of hope – just as they did late in the game in thelast round against Paris St-Germain, and we knowwhat happened there.
PSG performancegives us belief against Barcelona – Solskjaer
‘A passive start, but United improved’
Unitedwere far too passive in the early stages against Barca. Their approach seemedto be to let them have the ball, and then try to hit them on the break.
Idon’t expect that when I come to Old Trafford. I want to see United set up asif to say, “this is our home, and we are not going to allow you to come anddominate us”.
Itwas only in the second half that Solskjaer’s side really took the game to theiropponents. They looked sharp, and the tempo was good.
Byplaying quicker passes they were not allowing Barca to settle, which is exactlywhat Barca were doing to them for the entire first half.
Intotal, United’s good spells probably only lasted 20 to 25 minutes out of the90, but those were the times when they were pressing high, and getting playersinto the Barcelona box.
‘Squeeze Barca and get men forward’
Therewas a moment early in the second half from a Barcelona goal-kick that reallystood out for me as a sign of United’s intentions that the game would now beplayed on their own terms.
Theysqueezed Barcelona high with RomeluLukaku down the left, Paul Pogba down themiddle and Marcus Rashford on the right, and it left Barca goalkeeperMarc-Andre terStegen no option but to go long.
Whenhis clearance came, Chris Smalling won the header near the halfway line, andUnited were back on the ball and playing in the Barcelona half.
Onanother occasion after the break, Pogba was on the ball and played a pass outto Ashley Young on the right, then darted into the box.
ScottMcTominay followed him, DiogoDalot had attacked the far post and Rashford andLukaku were in there too.
Thosekind of things are what I want to see United doing more of in the second leg.
Theyare going to have to choose their moments for their players to get forward, butunless they do, they are never going to hurt Barca.
Uniteddid not manage a shot on target on Wednesday, and they did not really use theball well enough when they got possession.
Pogbawas the player expected to play the biggest part in unlocking the Barcelonadefence, but we did not see enough of the creative side of his game.
Hewill have to do much better next week, but he can only do that if histeam-mates are making the forward runs that allow him to play those sort ofpasses.
Lukakushould be doing exactly that. He did not manage a single shot in the first legbut I actually thought he played well.
Heheld the ball up and was very reliable in possession, but all of his work was along, long way from goal.
IfUnited are to have any joy at the Nou Camp, they need to get him in the box andgive their wide players more to aim at, because firing the ball into theBarcelona area was clearly part of Solskjaer’s plan.
None ofAshley Young’s nine crosses from open play were successful and, from 16attempts by the entire United team, only one found a red shirt – MarcusRashford’s cross for DiogoDalot
Youngwas trying to get the ball in there as much as possible but Barcelona’sdefenders made that really difficult for him, and a lot of his crosses wereblocked.
United’sbest chance did come from Young’s right flank, though – a Rashford cross thatDalot headed wide.
‘Liverpool licking their lips, whoevergoes through’
Unitedwere not at their best in the first leg, but I don’t think Barcelona playedparticularly well either.
Theydominated the game for long spells, but their front three of Lionel Messi, LuisSuarez and Philippe Coutinho were not really firing.
Evenso, when Barca had possession, whoever was on the ball seemed to have a lot ofoptions.
Theydid the simple things very well and created more chances. Ernesto Valverde’sside deserved their win and they have to be favourites to go through.
Barcaare not the force they were, though, and if Liverpoolfinish the job against Porto thenthey will be licking their lips whoever they end up playing in theirsemi-final.
Liverpoolobviously have to make sure of their own progress first but I don’t think theywill care who they face next.
Withtheir pace and inventive attacking play, they will probably feel they can catchout either of these defences quite easily, and they will fancy their chances ofmaking the final for a second successive season.
DionDublin was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.