Champions League: If you give Messi time, he will score, says Manchester United boss
Barcelona's mercurial striker scores brace in 3-0 win over Manchester United at Camp Nou, but warns teammates not to be nervous starters in big games
Lionel Messi lit up Camp Nou and devastated Man United before firing a warning to Barcelona that they can't start slowly again.
Barca were superior to United in all departments for the best part of 80 minutes on Tuesday, a 3-0 win perhaps even flattering for their opponents, who were two down in 20, both goals belonging to Messi.
By the time Philippe Coutinho had curved in a third to send Ernesto Valverde's side into the Champions League semi-finals, United's stirring opening was long-forgotten, except by Barcelona's captain.
"We put on a spectacle," said Messi. "But we came out cold and looked nervous in the first five minutes. We cannot come out like that in a Champions League match. Five bad minutes can knock you out. We have shown who we are," added Messi, who pounced on two Man United mistakes to score twice.
After an excellent start, United were undone twice in four minutes by Messi, who first nicked the ball off the careless Ashley Young and then watched as a weak shot from distance squirmed underneath David de Gea. Philippe Coutinho, in perhaps his best performance of the season, added a third with a curling effort into the top corner and by the end, an outclassed United might have been relieved the score was not more traumatic than 3-0, 4-0 on aggregate.
"You can plan as many tactics as you like but if you give Messi time and space, he will score," said United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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