Mauricio Pochettino believes Barcelona are a “step higher” than Manchester United and will overcome the Red Devils in the Champions League quarter-finals.
All four English clubs have reached the final eight of the competition, with United facing Barcelona, Liverpool meeting Porto and Pochettino’s Tottenham set to welcome Manchester City to their new stadium.
Spurs will have a difficult time getting past City over two legs, but Pochettino believes Barcelona are the favourites to win the competition.
“If there is one favourite team to win Champions League it is Barcelona. (Ernesto) Valverde is doing a great job. They have players of extraordinary level, and then they have Lionel Messi,” he said (via the Independent).
The Tottenham boss went on to suggest the La Liga giants will have too much for United.
He added: “I think the Manchester United team that has been built during the past few years was built to win big things. But I think Barcelona are one step higher than Manchester United.”
Pochettino was linked with the United post when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December, but interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to be handed the permanent job at the end of the season.
Spurs are still aiming to finish in the top four of the Premier League and get as far as possible in Europe, and Pochettino thinks there will be a “special energy” at the new stadium when City come to town.
“It is clear that Manchester City are a team designed to win and with an obligation to win,” he said.
“We will try to compete. We know that in short tournaments the fitness of the team at the time is very important. We have the incentive that we have a new stadium and we will play with 62,000 spectators. That will create a special energy.”