Xavi names Marcus Rashford as his toughest opponent since becoming Barcelona manager

Marcus Rashford delivered an impressive performance against Barcelona in the Europa League (Reuters)

Xavi has named Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford as his most difficult opponent since becoming Barcelona manager.

Xavi’s Barcelona side came up against Manchester United in the Europa League play-offs last season with Erik ten Hag’s men winning 4-3 on aggregate over two legs.

Rashford found the net in a fine display in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou but struggled to make an impact in the return leg at Old Trafford as Ten Hag’s side sealed a 2-1 win.

And Xavi has acknowledged that Barcelona found it tricky to keep Rashford quiet during their Europa League tie.

When asked during an interview with Mundo Deportivo to name his most difficult player to stop as Barca’s head coach, Xavi said: ‘Rashford cost us a lot. Also Vinicius, [Karim] Benzema.’

asked to name his toughest defeat, Xavi said: ‘The 0-3 at home against Bayern last season, which marked the final goodbye to the Champions League.’

Marcus Rashford was in sublime form when Manchester United faced Barcelona in the Europa League last season (Soccrates/Getty)

Rashford, meanwhile, has struggled to find the same form at the start of this season with United losing four of their seven Premier League games so far this term.

The 25-year-old has scored just once, while Ten Hag admitted after United’s 1-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday that the England international needs to improve.

‘I think he knows he can do better than he does now and I am sure it will come,’ Ten Hag said.

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‘He works hard and that is what he is doing. He will net, he will finish and it will come but it is not going to be automatic.

‘He has to invest a lot, the team has to invest a lot around him.’

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