Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan insists that the gap is closing between the Red Devils and Barcelona ahead of their pre-season friendly match in Gothenburg.
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United have struggled against the Catalan side in recent years with comprehensive wins in the Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011 proof that Sir Alex Ferguson still has work to do at Old Trafford.
However, with the two clubs set to clash in a friendly match that won't see the entire first XI play from both sides, Phelan believes that United are doing all they can to close the gulf in class.
"I think there is a gap there [between United and Barcelona]. But there's a gap for a lot of teams, not just ourselves. Barcelona have been exceptional - they've combined experience and youth and maintained success," Phelan said.
"The challenge for us is to compete. It will take time but we're not that far away. We've been in three European finals and we've won one. Now we're hungry to continue that. Barcelona are the ones to catch."
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney feels he is poised to start the new Premier League season in top form after he was given extended leave following his exertions in Euro 2012.
"I'm happy with how I'm doing,'' said Rooney. "I've been training for almost two weeks and I've been working hard. Everything's going well so far. I feel good.
"Everybody needs games to get up to match fitness, not just me. I'm training well, though, and I'm looking forward to the next few games. Hopefully, by the start of the season, I'll be ready to play.''
Rooney believes Barcelona will provide an ample test of United's pre-season form ahead of the league opener with Everton at Goodison Park on August 20.
"It's great to play in big games and Barcelona is one of them,'' he added on United's official website. "It's all part of our preparation and we need to make sure we do the right things. We want to enjoy the game and get our fitness ready for the first game of the season.
"The result, in some ways, isn't the most important thing. What's important is the fitness and the sharpness.''