Dimitar Berbatov has warned Manchester United they may face “major difficulties” when coming up against Real Sociedad.
The Red Devils are set to face off with the La Liga side in the Europa League round of 32 next Thursday.
Due to coronavirus restrictions enforced by the Spanish government, Sociedad were unable to host the tie in San Sebastian and it will be played at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.
The Old Trafford club will then play host to Sociedad for the second leg on the following Thursday.
United’s last meeting with a Spanish club came in last season’s Europa League semi-finals, where they were beaten 2-1 by Sevilla.
Bruno Fernandes’ early penalty was cancelled out by Suso and Luuk de Jong struck the winner for Sevilla – who went on to triumph over Inter Milan in the final.
While Sociedad do not have the European pedigree of Sevilla – who have won a record six Europa League titles – Berbatov has fired a timely warning to United not to underestimate their Spanish opposition.
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“United are back in Europa League action next week and their away leg has been moved to a neutral stadium,” the former Red Devils ace told Betfair . “I don’t believe that will give either team an advantage.
“They are coming up against Real Sociedad and I think it’s pretty clear that United will be the favourites in that game, but they need to be careful because in the past they have had major difficulties coming up against Spanish sides who are very technical and control the ball.”
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Berbatov also explained why United could struggle without injured midfielder Paul Pogba in the side to face Sociedad, who sit sixth in La Liga.
He added: “Looking at his last few games for the team, Pogba will be missed for this one. He was getting into great positions, scoring goals and really helping the team.
“United have the quality to replace him though and I’m sure [Donny] Van de Beek will want to step up. The team will miss Pogba but they have enough to compensate for his absence in this match.”
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