Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes it is not impossible to stop the Barcelona star ‘ Messi

Lionel Messi has a history of terrorising Manchester United but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes it is not impossible to stop the Barcelona star inflicting more damage in Wednesday’ s Champions League quarter- final .

Messi scored in both of Barca ’ s Champions League final victories over United , in 2009 and 2011, and is hungry to win the competition for a fifth time after crashing out at the last eight for the past three seasons .

The Argentine has been in majestic form again this season , scoring 43 goals in 40 appearances to put Barca in position for a third treble in a decade .

“He is a fantastic player and will go down in history as one of the best individual players ever , ” said United boss Solskjaer ahead of the first leg of the tie at Old Trafford.

“ He will be difficult to stop but it is never impossible. It ’ s not like it ’ s Messi against Manchester United .

“ There is (Luis ) Suarez , (Philippe ) Coutinho , (Ivan ) Rakitic , (Arturo) Vidal , there are so many good players we can ’ t just focus on one player . We know we have to play against 11 of them. ”

Messi stated before the season even began that his primary target was taking the Champions League back to Catalonia after the disappointment of blowing a 4 – 1 first – leg lead to bow out to Roma last season .

Salt has been rubbed into the wounds for Barca because Real Madrid have won the competition in each of the past three seasons .

– Barcelona favourites –
However , Madrid have failed to even reach the last eight this year and Barcelona are considered firm favourites to make the last four against a United side sitting sixth in the Premier League , despite an upturn in form since Solskjaer replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho in December .

The Red Devils , though , showed what they are capable of in the last 16 by becoming the first side ever to come back from losing the first leg of a European Cup tie 2 – 0 at home , beating free – spending Paris Saint- Germain on away goals .

“The game against PSG is a great example , ” warned Barcelona defender and former United player Gerard Pique.

“ They (PSG ) were better , but you cannot let United off the hook because they have a great team and a great history as they showed in Paris.

“ We learned (from Roma ) that things happen , even if it seemed unimaginable that they will. We learned that you cannot let an opponent back into a tie if they are not killed off . That will help us for facing a team like United .

“ If at any point we can kill off the tie, we have to do it . ”

United have lost three of their four games since victory in the French capital to crash out of the FA Cup and lose ground in the race for a top – four finish in the Premier League .

But Solskjaer says his players believe another Champions League scalp is possible against the Spanish champions .

“ Of course when you get Barcelona , with the quality of their team , we know we need to step up our game , ” said Solskjaer .

“ We know we need to perform to our best levels , which we didn’ t against PSG at home .

The outcome of the second leg against PSG has given the players and supporters belief that the same is possible against Barcelona . ”

Solskjaer is hopeful that Marcus Rashford and Nemanja Matic will be fit despite failing to take a full part in training on Tuesday.

Barca were given an injury boost with the news that Ousmane Dembele has been passed fit after a month out.

However , the French World Cup player is not expected to start , with coach Ernesto Valverde saying he does not want to take the risk of aggravating his hamstring problem .

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