Ander Herrera has explained how Manchester United can beat Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-final, noting that Jose Mourinho‘s men will have to be prepared for an energetic display from the Spanish side on Thursday night.
Man United secured a place in the last four with knockout wins over Saint Etienne, FC Rostov and Anderlecht, conceding just once at home in the process.
And Herrera, speaking ahead of the trip to Galicia, noted that United will need to be at the top of their game to match Celta’s intensity.
“Celta is a very complicated team, with players that have a lot of quality,” he said. “In theory, we are the strongest team left in the competition but we have to respect all of our rivals because otherwise, they can surprise us.”
“My teammates ask me about Celta because a lot is at stake for us in this tie. I tell them to remember that Athletic side that won at Old Trafford because it’s very similar.”
“They have a coach who is more or less from the same school, what [former Athletic boss] Marcelo Bielsa was is what Berizzo is. They are an attack-minded side, one that doesn’t speculate.”
It would be a massive crime to underestimate Celta: their placing in this year’s La Liga table (11th) and unconvincing quarter final win over Gent provides the illusion that they don’t pose a threat to Mourinho’s men, but the reality of the situation is that, actually, their style promises to be anathema for United’s tired legs.
Anybody who watched them dismantle either Real Madrid or Barcelona this season can tell you that, firstly, they love the underdog status and, secondly, run harder than almost anyone in La Liga. Herrera’s comparison with the Athletic Bilbao side that triumphed at Old Trafford back in 2012 is not far off; a present day comparison would be Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla – devastatingly quick and hard-working, smart on the ball and capable of launching powerful counter-attacks.
United will, no doubt, have to summon all the strength they have to nullify the hosts on Thursday.