Aaron Wan-Bissaka has named Neymar as the trickiest opponent he has faced but relished the challenge of not fouling the Brazilian star.
United’s short-lived Champions League campaign this season brought Wan-Bissaka into direct competition with Neymar during two group stage meetings with Paris-Saint-Germain.
Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka (left) has named Neymar as his toughest opponent
Wan-Bissaka and Scott McTominay combine to bring Neymar down at the Parc des Princes
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side made the perfect start to their group with a 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes but saw their qualification hopes disintegrate in part thanks to a Neymar-inspired 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
Now United are trying to win the Europa League and face AC Milan in the home first leg of their last-16 tie on Thursday evening.
Asked in a UEFA.com interview to name his toughest opponent, Wan-Bissaka said: ‘I’d say Neymar.
‘That was a player that was quite challenging, but I was always up for it, and I enjoyed the experience of playing against him. That meant a lot.’
Wan-Bissaka (left) keeps tabs on Neymar (right) during United’s 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford
On how he approached the task of facing the tricky Brazilian, Wan-Bissaka added: ‘He’s a player that likes to draw fouls and so, for me, if I’m up against him it’s [a priority] just not to give him any fouls because that’s what he wants.’
But even a top tackler like Wan-Bissaka couldn’t prevent Neymar scoring two goals in PSG’s 3-1 win over United at Old Trafford in December.
The French side have since beaten Barcelona 5-2 on aggregate this week to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals and are hoping to go one better than last season when they lost the final to Bayern Munich.
Wan-Bissaka (right) on the ball during training ahead of United’s meeting with AC Milan
Elaborating on his approach to defending, Wan-Bissaka said: ‘Defenders are most likely [to be] targeted on the pitch, to be taken on.
‘That comes down to concentration, awareness, and it’s something you have to be prepared for the whole 90 minutes.
‘For me, I mainly look at what foot they are. That will be the main information that I’ll need and it’s just about timing, showing them onto their weaker side and then taking it from there.
‘Concentration [is key]. It’s not always about diving in; it’s to wait for their move rather than making the first move.
The right-back did an excellent job keeping Man City’s Raheem Sterling quiet on Sunday
‘For me, [defending]is exciting, especially with the fans, the fans’ reaction. That keeps me going, and it just [makes me want] to make more tackles.
‘Since VAR became involved, you’ve got to be more careful. Depending on whereabouts you’re about to make the tackle, say, around the box, it’s quite crucial there, so that’s where the concentration comes in a lot.’