Juan Mata hopes Manchester United won’t have to cope with “another masterclass” from Lionel Messi.
United will face Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals following last Friday’s draw.
Before then, United will have to bounce back from consecutive defeats to Arsenal and Wolves, with the FA Cup exit at Molineux still eating away at Mata.
“It hurts to say that Saturday’s defeat against Wolves was deserved, as it saw us head out of the FA Cup and you all know the hopes that we had riding on this competition, especially after progressing through some really tough knock-out ties,” Mata wrote in his blog.
“We fought until the very last minute but they were better than us and we have to accept it.
“These are the kinds of situations that put your personality and the spirit in the dressing room to the test, which is something we’ve talked about when we have been winning.
“I’m sure that we are going to leave this defeat behind and head towards the most important part of the season with our batteries fully charged after the international break. The time is approaching.”
Barca arrive at Old Trafford for the first leg on April 10, when United will have to cope with the sublime form of Messi following his stunning hat-trick in the 4-1 win at Real Betis.
“Obviously, it is a huge challenge, but this is what this club is made of, overcoming adversity, demanding a lot from yourself and wanting to win,” he wrote.
“As Barca are one of the toughest opponents in world football, we will have to put all of that into practice.
“For the boss, returning to Camp Nou will be very special, as well as for everyone who was there on that special night in May 1999.
“This tie will ask us to put in a huge effort, but we are ready to give our best to try to go through.
“In La Liga, Barca beat Real Betis, thanks to another masterclass from Lionel Messi, and we will have to hope that he isn’t so inspired when we play against them.”