Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged his players to reach the levels of Barcelona as they prepare for a repeat of the Champions League final in Washington on Saturday.
Following the duo's epic European Cup final at Wembley, which saw the Catalans claim their fourth success in Europe's premier club competition, the two sides meet again in United's final game of their pre-season tour of America.
And with the unenviable task of taking on Pep Guardiola's side ahead of them, Ferguson has urged his players to reach the heights of the La Liga giants. "I think their performances and their feats over the last two or three years have elevated them," Ferguson told Sky Sports News.
"In everyone's mind they are the best team, currently, in the world. I'm quite happy to be in second place at this moment in time because that's our challenge. Our challenge will be to get to that level."
United have won all four of their matches state side, scoring 16 goals in four games as their preparations for the new season continue. The club began with a 4-1 victory over New England Revolution, before thrashing Seattle Sounders 7-0.
A hard fought 3-1 win over Chicago Fire followed, before a comfortable 4-0 win over the MLS All-Stars, a team which included former United great David Beckham, rounded off the fixtures against American opposition.
On Saturday, United's toughest ask of their tour sees them face Barcelona, who themselves have endured success during their pre-season, winning the Audi Cup by beating Bayern Munich virtue of two Thiago Alcantara goals at the Allianz Arena.
United full back Patrice Evra agrees with his boss that Barca are No.1 at the moment, but says the players are making it a mission not to endure the pain of Wembley.
"I give Barcelona a lot of respect but I'd like to play against them again in the Champions League final and win," said Evra. "I have already lost to them twice and it's very painful.
"At the moment they are the best team in the world, which is difficult for us to accept because that is what we want to be."
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