Watford ’ s former Barcelona forward Gerard Deulofeu is convinced the Catalans will win their Champions League quarter- final tie against Manchester United , saying the runaway La Liga leaders are on a different level to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ’ s side .
United host the first leg on Wednesday, the teams ’ first official meeting since Barca brushed United aside to win 3 – 1 in the 2011 Champions League final . The return leg at the Nou Camp is on April 16.
The Premier League side have shown a marked improvement in form since Solskjaer succeeded Jose Mourinho as coach in December , although they have struggled of late , losing three of their last four outings in all competitions.
“ United have improved but I think Barca are the clear favourites if they play even slightly well they will win the tie, ” Deulofeu told Spanish newspaper Marca on Tuesday.
“ United are at a good level , but they are not on the same level as Barca .
If it becomes an end -to – end game United will be very dangerous but Barca will know how to deal with that because they dominate so much and always have control in matches. ”
Deulofeu came through Barca ’ s academy and had several stints in the team before opting to leave the club last year to join Watford .
On Sunday he came off the bench to lead their remarkable 3 – 2 comeback win over Wolverhampton Wanderers which took Watford into the FA Cup final .
Barca , meanwhile , won a decisive game with Atletico Madrid 2 – 0 with late goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi to move 11 points clear at the top of La Liga , tightening their grip on an eighth title in the past 11 years.
For Deulofeu , United will be no match for Messi and his teammates .
“ All you need to do is watch them play to see they are the favourites, ” he added .
“They are in a great moment of form and they can count on the best player around (Messi ) who can fix any situation. ”