Champions League Final 2011: preview

When Sir Alex Ferguson delivered his now infamous Pacino-esque half-time eulogy deep in the bowel’s of Camp Nou’s ‘home’ dressing room during the 1999 final, he told his startled players that six feet may be the closest they ever got to ‘ol big ears, the Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens. As startlingly brilliant his 1999 breed could be they only ever made on final, famously winning in injury time.

By contrast Ferguson’s current generation faces their third showpiece in four years. The final of Europe’s Premier Competition no longer a rarity but, incredibly, now habitual. No more so for his 2011 generation, a team reportedly among the Scot’s very worst in 25 years at Old Trafford. How the team has made a mockery of that prediction this season.

It is this sense of over-achievement – the underdog spirit if you will – that has seemingly reduced the pressure on Ferguson’s men ahead of Saturday night’s Wembley final. Win or lose, United has never been favourite, perhaps even among the club’s own fans, to lift this year’s Champions League trophy.

Yet Ferguson, often to the media’s audible derision, has always backed his charges to come good this season. It is, according to many pundits, a team without “stardust”. Not so says the Scot, who firmly believes his players hold the ability and temperament to beat the team many regard as history’s best, on United’s ‘home’ soil.

“We have players who will all like this stage,” Ferguson said on Friday.

“In terms of Rooney’s progress in Europe, he is much more mature than he was in 2009. And others too. The experience of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic is vital. Our experience, and our progress in Europe this season, gives us a good chance.

“Barcelona have fantastic qualities but I think our qualities will show through as well, which could make it a really good game. We are very focused this time and our preparation has been better. We maybe made one or two mistakes last time, but not this time. We were disappointed we lost the game but it isn’t a matter of revenge, it is about our own personal pride.”

That preparation has included a two week period in which the Premier League was won but Ferguson did not allow the intensity of focus to drop. Indeed, the manager’s stronger-than-expected line-up against Blackpool last week belied an understanding that too many players were undercooked when United lost to Barcelona in 2009.

And while Ferguson’s line-up will surprise few, the manager has promised a fresh tactical outlook having been out-thought by Pep Guardiola’s men in Rome. Pre-eminent in Ferguson’s mind is a nagging feeling that United failed to give a true account of itself in the Italian capital, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez a glittering array of attacking talent that failed to spark

“We did most of the work before the Blackpool game [last Sunday] – and winning the league the previous week helped us that way,” added the 69-year-old Scot.

“The players have to trust themselves and trust each other because I trust them. I know they’ll do the job right. This team has unity and our record in Europe this year is good. We’re used to playing in Europe, we have that experience and we’re pleased with what we’ve achieved this year in Europe.

“There could be a lot of excitement, there’ll be a lot of good football. We recognise the quality of our opponents: it’s unwise to go into a game not preparing for how your opponents play, their strengths and weaknesses.”

Manchester United v Barcelona, Champions League Final 2011, 28 MayMuch will depend on whether United can retain enough of the ball to hurt Barcelona, whose ability to dominate games has, if anything, increased in the two years since these sides last met. The Catalan giants have managed more than 70 per cent possession on average this season, meaning United will almost certainly be on the back foot most of the night.

Yet, it is easy to forget United’s positive start in Rome, where Park Ji-Sung would surely have scored in the opening seconds but for former Red Gerard Piqué’s last-ditch tackle. It is that positive outlook that Ferguson has instilled in his troops over the past fortnight.

This should reflect in the Scot’s team, whose natural instincts against big European opposition is to pack midfield. However, with Darren Fletcher unlikely to make the United 18-man squad, let alone the starting team, Ferguson’s hand is somewhat forced. Wayne Rooney is likely to partner Javier Hernández in attack, with the former Evertonian dropping deep into midfield when needed.

With Ferguson’s selection dilemma solved, the rest of the Scot’s team almost picks itself. Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs will form the heart of United’s midfield; Antonio Valencia will edge out Nani for the right-wing berth; Fabio da Silva is expected to play at right-back ahead of his brother Rafael.

Tactically Ferguson’s team has worked on pressing high up the pitch where United will attempt to cut of the supply to Andreas Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Lionel Messi by suffocating Barça’s ‘starters’ – Piqué and Sergio Busquets.

It is a tactical flexibility that owes much to Ferguson’s respect for Guardiola. While the men are no friends – Ferguson retains far more affection for José Mourinho – the elder man recognises the outstanding team Guardiola has built.

“For a young coach, he’s changed the way they play and brought a maturity to the team,” Ferguson said of the 40-year-old coach.

“From beating us in Rome to the present day, you can see that maturity. He’s changed the way they press the ball; for a young coach he’s done fantastically well and has a good presence. He played for Barcelona, which helps, and with the history of Dutch coaches there, he’s made a big step forward for Spanish coaches.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola has few selection worries save for left-back where captain Carles Puyol is expected to play out of position. Eric Abidal, now fit after undergoing surgery for a kidney tumour, is not thought to be match-ready, while Maxwell is out-of-favour. The selection may offer United a glimmer of hope, especially after Antonio Valencia’s outstanding performance against Ashley Cole in the recent victory over Chelsea.

Yet, if that sentiment is essentially pessimistic in tone then Ferguson is having none of it: “We have a great chance. We always focus on what we can do ourselves and we hope to attack – we have players who can do that.”

It’s a belief that few fans – United or otherwise – would be wise to bet against in this most unpredictable of campaigns.

Match Facts
Champions League Final. Wembley, London. 7.45pm, 28 May 2011.

Teams
Barcelona – 433 – Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Piqué, Puyol; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa. Subs from: Bojan, Jeffrén, Keita, Milito, Maxwell, Afellay, Adriano, Abidal, Fontàs, Olazábal.

United – 4411 – van der Sar; Fabio da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney; Hernandez. Subs from: Brown, Evans, Smalling, Rafael da Silva, Gibson, Owen, O’Shea, Berbatov, Nani, Anderson, Kuszazck, OShea, Fletcher.

Officials
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant referees: Gabor Erös, György Ring
Additional assistant referees: Mihaly Fabian, Tamás Bognar
Fourth official: Istvan Vad

Form
Barcelona – WDWDDW
United – WLWWWW

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Comments

  1. sheesh says

    I’ll feel more confident if we take it to extra time. Our far superior bench should hopefully give us a definitive advantage.

    • says

      eddieTheRed – a crass and deliberate misrepresentation of what I wrote. In fact I’ll quote, because that would not only be wrong (United makes almost no money from overseas shirt sales) but quite the opposite of what I wrote:

      “In fact the real boon to United’s commercial activity is not from individual fans’ spending per se but the brand association commercial partners garner from the country-specific exclusive partnerships the club has struck over the past 18 months.”

      “Hernandez’ acquisition is unlikely to create any significant direct revenue streams though.”

      “Where the Little Pea’s impact is more likely to be felt by the Old Trafford bean counters is in a new addressable Latin American market for the aforementioned commercial partnerships.”

      Oh and hey presto United only went and signed up a Chiliean wine producer…

      Now that might be crass generalisation on my part – Chile and Mexico are not the same thing – but I had a valid point, which turned out to be correct.

  2. Sidsidney says

    Realistically I think Barca will win 2/3-0 – probably aided by a sending off

    However, if by the grace of god we can pull it off, we’ll win 2-1

  3. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sheesh said:
    I’ll feel more confident if we take it to extra time. Our far superior bench should hopefully give us a definitive advantage.

    The way Barca play, we’ll be shattered after 90 minutes… if we don’t win in regulation, we won’t win.

  4. bman says

    Without dubious red cards, Barca might well have not gotten past either Arsenal or Real. Their away record in the CL this season is a good bit ropier than ours in terms of goals conceded and their control of the game. They’re almost unplayable in Camp Nou, but so have we been at home this season. They clean up in the Spanish League, but playing other quality teams outside Spain, Barca’s record is very good but not at all mind-blowing.

    They’re a very good team, but not as good as two years ago I don’t care what anyone says, they play in a piss-poor league now that hypes their stats. Their first 11 are better than ours, that I don’t dispute, but the difference is far smaller than most people think.

    My biggest worry is that the game is in England, because psychologically that might make our lads play more like an away PL game than an away CL game, and we know how that will turn out.

    Basically, if we play like we’ve played nearly every away game in England this season, we’ll be slaughtered. Otherwise, so long as we keep 11 players on the pitch, I think our chances are 50/50. We’re a good bit better than both Arsenal and Real this season, and when they had 11 players on the pitch those teams took Barca all the way.

  5. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    both recent games at the emirates barcelona have been shattered after an hour let alone 90 minutes, and then arsenal battered em both times

  6. sheesh says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    both recent games at the emirates barcelona have been shattered after an hour let alone 90 minutes, and then arsenal battered em both times

    Tiredness or complacency against Arsenal?
    I do think Barcelona must be pretty tired by now, though. Playing the same players week in and week out is bound to take its toll.
    Wembley is a big pitch and, crucially, it’s a slow pitch. This won’t help Barcelona’s passing game.
    I do think we must score first to have a realistic chance of winning the match, though, otherwise it could be a long old night of us trying to get the ball off them.

  7. han says

    At the start of this season after the 1st half dozen games, most of us didn’t think we would lift the title let alone get to this final if we really are honest. United have exceeded all expectations this season and now we are in the final, i just want us to put on a good performance and be able to say united played their part in an awesome game…come on reds

  8. ltel says

    i want to win.. win dirty if we have to, these fucks will be falling over every chance they get.. a strong ref will help us

  9. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Barcas reputation as ref baiting fannies has been well stoked this year… hopefully this hungarian ref has been paying attention.
    But I don’t want us to cheat to win… I’d rather lose, than have the football world say we’re just as bad as them.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

    • MrKirie says

      Well said sir! Should Barca win on a dubious decision I doubt the media would notice. Wouldn’t be the same for us. I BELIEVE we will win it!

  10. sheesh says

    Fuck the rest of the football world. As far as they’re concerned, we’re only turning up to make up numbers.

    We win irrespective of what everyone else thinks.

  11. Sidsidney says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    both recent games at the emirates barcelona have been shattered after an hour let alone 90 minutes, and then arsenal battered em both times

    Arsenal did overwhelm them eventually in the home leg, but that’s partly because Barca’s away form is shite and they lost their bottle

    They’ve had a long rest, so I don’t think tiredness will be an issue

  12. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sheesh said:
    Fuck the rest of the football world. As far as they’re concerned, we’re only turning up to make up numbers.

    We win irrespective of what everyone else thinks.

    It’s what I think that matters to me Sheeshy… I don’t like to see United cheat to win.

  13. chocolatteballs says

    I want to see Messi crying after the game.
    Want to see the Barca players crowd the Referee at fulltime and insult him in Spanish.
    I want to see easy cheerleaders at half time giving it plenty as well.

  14. Sidsidney says

    Who gives a fuck if Barca cheat to win and consequently get slaughtered in the press

    So they get some bad press, that’s it. They’re still champions. They don’t get the trophy taken off them

    If/when they cheat fuck all will come of it. Fuck all. Lot’s of teams have cheated and won things in the past and fuck all has come of it

    We have to play them at their game, play the ref like we did at Stamford Bridge otherwise there is no hope

  15. sheesh says

    @nickcoppack
    Nick Coppack Rumours around the Wembley press box that Sir Alex has “sprung a major surprise” in his team selection. Something that would make you gasp.

  16. says

    Could be something to disrupt Barca’s preparation and have them guessing? Just can’t see it. Unless Smalling is to start at right back, that could be a sufficient surprise, but not something totally unlikely.

  17. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Fuck sake, I’m getting sweaty, and my nuts have started creeping about my fuckin shorts.

  18. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    dozer said:
    Rumours now that Fergie’s playing with Hernandez and Owen up top with Rooney in the hole

    That sounds like bollocks.

  19. han says

    berbs not even on the bench
    ffs if anyone was needed to hold the ball up front it was him
    hope he isnt set to be disposed of in the summer

  20. bman says

    Told you Berbs wouldn’t get on the bench, what’s the fucking point? He’d be no use in the match in any scenario you could think of. He probably will be ditched in the summer now, and Benzema brought in instead (I wish).

    The fact that Smalling is the only defender on the bench is the most interesting thing. Otherwise, pretty much as expected. Come on the fucking lads!

  21. says

    Berbas contract end in 2012. In the summer its the case of sign a new contract or be sold. He must cut a lonely figure. I guess his lack of quality in the vital games has counted against him. To be honest he gives us something Rooney and Hernandez doesn’t so would have been a good option. Must be a hunch from Fergie.

  22. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Bill said:
    Puyol on the bench was a big call too!

    Aye… Guardiola’s worried about his lack of pace… but he’s sacrificing a great set piece defender.

    Vidic will get up for corners… and have a much better chance.

  23. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    I’m loving this Fergie/Busby/Charlton bit…

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  24. says

    Was a question of time them scoring.

    Now man the fuck up United and take the game to Barcelona stop giving them time and the ball.

  25. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Calvino said:
    We are too open. We needed Fletcher alongside Giggs and Carrick.

    No Cal… I think the team is fine… it’s just we have to stop lumping the long ball, on the few times we get it.

  26. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    We’ve got to get Rooney more involved, and to do that, we have to stop kicking pointless long balls… Chico and Rooney are never going to win the ball in the air against Pique.

  27. says

    Half time shit it when Barca scored then Rooney stepped up and equalised maybe were not as technical as Barca but we can do this tonight. And no doubt Sir Alex will be having a few words just now

  28. says

    I have always believed that our centre-backs need to be brave and step up in this game. There are those pockets where Messi and Villa pop into behind Carrick and Giggs that led to their goal. We need one center-back to be brave and step in to confront the player there. Every time they have done it we have quelled the danger.

  29. says

    arunk said:
    Tony needs to step up. Nani not disciplined enough.

    Agree but just maybe tonight he will have one of those games where he does everything right.

  30. Sidsidney says

    Fucking hell, we hung on

    Barca carving us open at times but we know we can score against them so there is hope

    Second half, get tighter, be more relaxed when in possession and keep playing when they score again

  31. sheesh says

    Agree with you there, alf. Ball retention is key and one area we need to improve on. So proud of the players for getting us back in it. Heads could easily have dropped but they showed character.

  32. chocolatteballs says

    We need corners and getting Vidic up there with a few free headers.

    Giggs is lost in midfield.

  33. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    I’m happy enough… Barca aren’t going to do anything different… this is the only way they know how to play. If they get a lead, then Pujols might come on, but other than that, we’ll just see more of the same.
    Fergie however, can now try and get the lads to sort themselves out… he had a plan, but the lads aren’t sticking to it… if he wanted them to play all these long balls, he’d have started with Berbatov… we’ve got to play quicker, but get the ball to Rooney more… he’s well up for this…

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  34. says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Absolutely… what the fuck was he doing for their goal?

    Xavi running with the ball threw the cat amongst the pigeons so he followed Messi and Pedro peeled off Vidic. We are too open. Not sure why. If Carrick and Giggs push forward then the center-backs HAVE to move up too. No options. Fabio is doing very well. Valencia is subdued but then again it is his biggest ever match while Abidal is very experienced. he has a job to do has Tony V.

  35. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    We seem to be holding back in the challenges… I wonder if they’re afraid of Barca buying fouls.

  36. sheesh says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    I can’t believe some of you think Park is a good footballer… fuck me.

    No one else is pressing apart from rooney

  37. says

    madmax said:
    we need a couple more Rooneys

    We need more player to man the fuck up, press Barcelona stop them getting in there rhythm once you let them your fucked.

  38. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Park is fucking woeful at least Carrick offers a little something park offers fuck all, we’re getting out run in middle, always was going to be the case! get Chico off he’s doing fuck all Bring Nani on as well

  39. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    This is a lazy fucking showing so far!! Come on wake the fuck up! At least this shows how much out midfield needs to be improved! Lucky chelsea and Arsenal were so shit this season!!

  40. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Fuck sake… we’ve shit ourselves now…

    We get the ball, and just lump it away in panic… no plan at all.

  41. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sheesh said:
    No one else is pressing apart from rooney

    Pressing is great, and Park is good at it, but you’ve got to do something with it, when you get it back.

    And there you go… game over.

  42. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    Fuxking hell this has to be Valencia’s worst performance in a united shirt

    Game over. I’m shocked….. NOT

  43. arunk says

    Robbo said:
    Time was after Barca´s second goal if they score again thats it

    What’s Fergie waiting for? Valencia is having a stinker.

  44. says

    Maybe this will show the Glazer, Gill and fucking Ferguson that finally something needs to be done otherwise we will never be level with Barcelona.

  45. sheesh says

    Barcelona deserve to lead and the score is a fair refle ction but I am angry at those last 2goals we have conceded. Not great footballing goals but more a case of us shooting ourselves in the foot

  46. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    The only chance you got to beat Barca is to either sit back and defend deep or match there tempo Fergie has done neither!! Too many players not turned up tonight too many players just not good enough….. Park, Valencia, Chico, Giggs and Vida I’m talking to you!!

  47. says

    FFs there are 10 fucking minutes go for it instead of all this pretty build up bollocks, if your going down at least with your heads held high.

  48. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sheesh said:
    We seemed to forget our game plan when we came out of the tunnel at start of second half.

    I think they lost their way after the first 10 minutes… as soon as we resorted to long balls.

  49. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    arunk said:
    Fuckin hell…only 33% possession!

    That’s fine… but we did fuck all with it… that’s the problem.

  50. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    See you next season lads or when we sign the next promising youngster in the summer!! Fuck sake sort it out Ginsoak!!

  51. says

    brianofnazareth said:
    See you next season lads or when we sign the next promising youngster in the summer!! Fuck sake sort it out Ginsoak!!

    Watch till the end you big fucking jessie.

  52. chocolatteballs says

    Carrick look what scholes is doing… Passing the ball and then looking for it again Just like xavi , inesta etc etc

    wheres the berb when you need him ?

    Thats right fergie …you leave him out of the entire squad.

    Wrong selections.

  53. sheesh says

    brianofnazareth said:
    See you next season lads or when we sign the next promising youngster in the summer!! Fuck sake sort it out Ginsoak!!

    Where the fuck have you been?

  54. arunk says

    This should tell the Glazers that at least 3 quality signings are needed. To be fair though, Barca tonight were perfect and would have beaten anyone.

  55. han says

    they played us off the pitch
    simple
    no team could have beaten them the way they played tonight
    disappointed with messis goal but just too good for us
    credit the lads with the league and getting to the final as well as the semi of the fa cup

  56. dozer says

    Anyone noticed how Scholes looked just like one of the Barcelona midfielders there, maybe in hindsight we should’ve started him.

    There’s now way we can beat Barcelona without at least one top CM like Scholes, but there’s nobody out there.

    Fergie for the first time looked like he’d given up. If he were to rewind back 90 mins, what would he do different?

  57. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Oh well… Barcelona are the better team and there’s no point in denying that… we had a chance, if we competed on our terms… we didn’t, and Barcelona played the fuck out of us.

    Fuck… aside for the first 10 minutes, and Rooneys goal… we looked like shit!

    I’m so depressed.

    Later cunts…

  58. says

    han said:
    they played us off the pitch
    simple
    no team could have beaten them the way they played tonight
    disappointed with messis goal but just too good for us
    credit the lads with the league and getting to the final as well as the semi of the fa cup

    Agree with credit to the lads its been a rollercoaster ride this season who would have thought at one time that we would finally get number 19 and be the second best team in europe.

    Well done lads.

  59. sheesh says

    dozer said:
    Anyone noticed how Scholes looked just like one of the Barcelona midfielders there, maybe in hindsight we should’ve started him.

    There’s now way we can beat Barcelona without at least one top CM like Scholes, but there’s nobody out there.

    Fergie for the first time looked like he’d given up. If he were to rewind back 90 mins, what would he do different?

    Simply put, I don’t think we could have done anything. Barcelona are the best team in the world by a long way. We gifted them 2 shocking second half goals but they probably would have won anyway.

    We do need to invest in the side but I think we should accept that we were beaten a by a much better team. Losing to Bayern last year hurt far more than this defeat. We were always up against it tonight.

  60. brianofnazarethbrianofnazareth says

    We were always against it also didn’t help that we were fucking SHIT!! Current players I hate

    Park
    Carrick
    Valencia
    Giggs
    Vida
    Chico
    Park
    Park
    Park
    Park

  61. vlad says

    In 2009 i was ashamed of losing, it was a feeble loss.
    This year Barca won hands down, but there is absolutely no need to be embarrassed.
    Carrick did well, and the team in general.
    We lost two fantastic goals.
    We fought, we attacked and we passed the ball.

    What went wrong:
    We did not shoot though.. especially Chicha;
    Nani did feel calm and did not know what to do with the ball.
    Do we have any long-term replacement for Evra?

  62. han says

    brianofnazareth said:
    We were always against it also didn’t help that we were fucking SHIT!! Current players I hate

    Park
    Carrick
    Valencia
    Giggs
    Vida
    Chico
    Park
    Park
    Park
    Park

    and these players u hate won us the 19th
    u fucking short sighted cock fiddling cunt
    go fuck urself with messis cock u twat

  63. bman says

    Barca have top class players in nearly every position, but looking at tonight, our only top class players were Roo, Vida, Rio, and VDS. I think Evra is class, but he had a shocker tonight.

    Carrick was decent, but it’s hard to judge because he was simply outnumbered all the time.

    Oh well, we won’t buy players to compete with Barca.

  64. vlad says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Oh well… Barcelona are the better team and there’s no point in denying that… we had a chance, if we competed on our terms… we didn’t, and Barcelona played the fuck out of us.

    Fuck… aside for the first 10 minutes, and Rooneys goal… we looked like shit!

    I’m so depressed.

    Later cunts…

    Alf, we did not look good in the first 10 minutes; we pressed without any plan.
    Depressed – yes in a way; my wife wept even.
    I’m sorry for VDS, he was great.
    Depressed but not embarrassed defo.
    Barca are better, but am i the only one who thinks they are disgusting?

  65. madredmonkeymadredmonkey says

    We need two Scholes Like players in midfield, not easy though, better team won,
    They could win it a few times in the next few years.
    But we must be happy overall champions 19 times, 2nd best in europe. And this united team can get better, so I am not to down tonight, I will enjoy the title, then hope to make it 20, next season. More good days to come.

  66. vlad says

    Smth i somehow noticed only in this game: we gave Ole’s No.20 jersey to Fabio.
    i just hoped United will retire it.

    Have a good time folks.

  67. chocolatteballs says

    Its a cultural thing as well. Barca love the ball , they want to keep it , pass it , make love to it.
    To english teams the ball is mostly something to be got rid of as fast as possible, cut as many corners as possible in order to get it in the onion bag quick as.

    Carrick type players are a prime eg of this.

    Its why so many players in Spain etc love Scholes for eg

  68. says

    We should NEVER have have gone 4-4-2 with them with Giggs and carrick who really could not tackle. Valencia stank out the joint by the way.

    We were horribly outplayed and it was an embarrassment to be honest. We asked a lot of Rooney to play Busquets and also score for us. Am pleased he scored though.

    Barca were brilliant. Scholes would have been sent-off if he has started so let us not kid ourselves here that he would have made a difference. What did he do when he came on? Giggs’ age totally showed today.

  69. says

    Yep English football culture exposed. Big hearted physicality is of no relevance at the highest level. Size shouldn’t matter it should be about skill and technique. And Barca showed that.

  70. han says

    oh ffs
    it didnt matter whether we played 442, 4411,451,460 or even if we had an extra 2 men
    they were clinical with the ball, we werent
    they passed it as thought they cherished it whilst we lumped it
    yes some players didnt play as well as we know they can but no team on earth could have beaten them tonight
    grow a pair and admit it
    anything else and you are deranged

  71. says

    han said:
    oh ffs
    it didnt matter whether we played 442, 4411,451,460 or even if we had an extra 2 men
    they were clinical with the ball, we werent
    they passed it as thought they cherished it whilst we lumped it
    yes some players didnt play as well as we know they can but no team on earth could have beaten them tonight
    grow a pair and admit it
    anything else and you are deranged

    ^^^^^^

    Well said that monkeyfucker

  72. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Bill said:
    Yep English football culture exposed. Big hearted physicality is of no relevance at the highest level. Size shouldn’t matter it should be about skill and technique. And Barca showed that.

    This is bollocks!

  73. Just1n says

    brianofnazareth said:
    We were always against it also didn’t help that we were fucking SHIT!! Current players I hate

    Park
    Carrick
    Valencia
    Giggs
    Vida
    Chico
    Park
    Park
    Park
    Park

    You are such a melodramatic pre mentrual cunt.

    2 weeks ago you wanted Giggs number retired and him getting a knighthood.

    Plastic.

  74. Sidsidney says

    Outclassed in the end by the best team in the world

    We’re a top European team – our record proves that – and we’re the best in England without doubt… but we couldn’t get close to the cunts

    It’s hard to see how anybody can knock them off their perch. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went on to defend the trophy next season

    Great season overall though. I didn’t expect a 19th title or a European Cup Final

  75. Just1n says

    This season was about number 19. We achieved that.

    Getting to CL final was a bonus and we came up against a team that was much better than us. No disgrace in losing to this Barca side. At least we tried to play and not kick them off the park like most other teams do.

  76. baggio365 says

    bah. this sucks. i’m going to bed and its 8am in the fucking morning. its worse than rome. we played for 10mins and then just disappeared. thats the difference between a bunch of hardworking journeymen and technically brilliant footballers

  77. Sidsidney says

    Can I just ask… what the fuck was our strategy/tactics?

    We played long ball in the second half and Barca’s midgets won all of the knock downs

    Surely that can’t have been the plan?

  78. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sidney said:
    Can I just ask… what the fuck was our strategy/tactics?

    We played long ball in the second half and Barca’s midgets won all of the knock downs

    Surely that can’t have been the plan?

    Aye… all the long balls… how stupid was that? If that was the plan, then we should have started Berbs.

    And it seemed to me that we were afraid to fight with them for anything… did their diving/play acting reputation scare us out of being too competetive?

    Another thing… I think Chico showed his inexperience tonight… he easily had the beating of their defence… and in the first half had several opportunites to run them… yet he kept stepping offside… there was no need.

  79. sheesh says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Aye… all the long balls… how stupid was that? If that was the plan, then we should have started Berbs.

    And it seemed to me that we were afraid to fight with them for anything… did their diving/play acting reputation scare us out of being too competetive?

    Another thing… I think Chico showed his inexperience tonight… he easily had the beating of their defence… and in the first half had several opportunites to run them… yet he kept stepping offside… there was no need.

    I thought we started the game getting at them but then we seemed to tire pretty quickly.

    Just1n said:
    This season was about number 19. We achieved that.

    Getting to CL final was a bonus and we came up against a team that was much better than us. No disgrace in losing to this Barca side. At least we tried to play and not kick them off the park like most other teams do.

    Good post, I agree.

    We can criticise individual performances but if we’d shown the same intent against other teams as we did in the first half, we would have had the beating of these other sides.

    Barcelona are a magnificent side and they well and truly put us in our place tonight. The only way you could see them deteriorating as a side if they were to lose a few players or even if the manager were to go elsewhere. If they were to stay as they are, they could easily win more European cups.

    Even Fergie has admitted that this Barcelona side is the best he has ever faced. Hard to disagree.

  80. Ted says

    What was Carrick doing trying to get Iniesta’s fuckin autograph for the second goal, and why did he try and pass it to Nani in our own box for their third?
    He should have been subbed 20 minutes into the game, absolute fuckin passenger. Its not solely his fault we was humiliated….(as i’d previously predicted was always going to happen) but Gin soaked had promised we’d learned our lesson from 2009. Well clearly he had’nt. Take nothing away from Barca, they’re probably the best club side the world has ever seen, certainly the best i’ve ever seen, but yet again, our blatant deficiencies were totally exposed again. Our clear lack of bight and creativity in the middle of the park was our undoing. And until its addressed, we can only dream of ever reaching that kind of level. I’m sure we are all grateful for out doing the Dippers in league titles, and now the Schalke giddyness has finally been put well and truly to bed, can we not get on with what we should have been getting on with three seasons ago.
    Giggs and Scholes put out to grass. Carrick and Nani to who ever wants them, and get some fuckin quality in there. Don’t half feel sorry for Rooney and the Cockroach, they deserved a lot better around them tonight.
    Totally buttfucked with no lube. No passion, and no desire. Zero bollocks.
    Teds awards.
    Should be gold………..
    Rooney. Hernandez. Fabio. Vidic.
    Should be sold…….
    Carrick. Nani, and to brutally honest, anyone who’s surname is’nt any of the above.

    “NOT MANY MANAGERS CAN SAY THEY’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A NINE GOAL THRILLER AGAINST THE CHAMPIONS”.
    Forest manager Ron Atkinson after they’d just lost 8-1 at home to Manchester United.

  81. herbie simms says

    This was truly a wake up call for SAF. That is why Mancini said in an interview that he will be looking to buy players that have Champions League experience in order to compete with Barcelona and others. Man City will be strong next season and SAF needs to get busy this summer if we are serious about beating these world class teams. Berbatov left out and Nani only playing for 15 minutes yet if Berbatov and Nani where at Barcelona, they both would have started today because they are both class players. SAF has a lot to sort out because Valencia and Nani are right wingers, but only one can play. The midfield has no quality and we need a world class right back and another cover left back for Evra.
    Hernandez is only good coming on as a sub and Berbatov, the leading goal scorer cannot even make the team. Barcelona showed today that we have some big problems in this team. Giggs and Scholes definately need to retire. And I still believe that we do not have to buy 30 million pound players in order to compete, but we do need to identify world class players at prices that make sense. If I were the manager, I would sell Carrick, Anderson, Evans, Gibson, Obertan, Berbatov, Macheda, Michael Owen and Diouf and retire Giggs and Scholes. Thats eleven players out and I would bring in six new players, two fullbacks, three midfielders and a striker. I still have Progba, Morrison, Cleverley and Wellbeck to promote. SAF has already bought a new keeper and a center-half, so we need six more quality players if we are serious about winning trophies.

  82. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    why did that cunt fergie switch giggs and parks positions ta halftime, we were doing alright in the first half, giggs was getting quick ball to wayne, he pulled that same fucking stunt putting park in with carrick in midfield at the emirates and we were hammered from then on, rooney got no ball from a carrick park midfield, what did ginsoak expect ffs

    why didn’t we use all our subs?

    why was fletcher on the bench, surely in taggarts eyes if his bastard sons fit for the bench he’s fit to start, he mustve been nowhere near fit to play then and he gave him a sympathy place on the bench and left out berbashite and rafa to do it

    is this valencia at rightback shite the future or what

    • MrKirie says

      Have a moment and think about who you are calling a “cunt”.

      Yes, we lost the game, we are probably all bitterly dissapointed, but at the end of the day we lost to a much better team. There isn’t really much you can do to beat this Barca team when they are playing like they did yesterday. So much movement, so many runs. It was never going to be an easy task. Yes, there were some individual errors. I think switching Park and Giggs allowed the second goal, but I’m happy we didn’t go out to play destructive football and at least tried to beat them honestly.

  83. Spike says

    Well done Barce, you shown us again how “passing” football destroyed United, cause we have a useless midfield of “wannabes” and ” has-been’s”.

    Will Berbs be sold? I detected something in Ginsoaks face when asked why Berbs wasn’t even on the subs bench that tasted like a “fook him and good riddance” expression for a fleeting moment.

  84. fat maradona says

    Too be fair, it wasn’t like we didn’t turn up or play badly. Barca were so good that they didn’t let us play. They are so composed on the ball and everyone makes themselves available to receive the ball whereas we rush our passes/play.

    As much as it hurts me to say this, the game reminded me of when we played Schalke. However, we were the Schalke and they were the United and that is the gulf in ability and class.

    The talk after the game was about the need for 3 world class midfielders and a world class striker. I’d agree with them but also suggest that the fundamental problem is the technical naivety of the PL compared to La Liga.

  85. bman says

    Technical naivety my arse, it’s a matter of personnel plain and simple. This is the second fucking time now I’ve had to watch us play Barca in the CL final without us having a single proper defensive midfielder. Yeah they’re a great team, but we don’t even have the right kind of players to give it a go, which is criminal for a club our size.

    In some ways it’s better that we were thrashed instead of just losing, because with Scholes and company retiring, the club being full of cash, there might be more of a fucking realisation now that we are not punching at the weight we are supposed to be.

  86. bman says

    When we beat Barca over two legs a few seasons ago, it was with Hargreaves, Carrick, and Scholes in the middle of the pitch. Since then we’ve lost Hargreaves – whatever you think of him, at least he was a defensive midfielder – and Scholes isn’t up to it anymore. Now people get on Carrick’s back for not doing enough, which is fucking ridiculous. As the Zonalmarking guy points out in his review of the match, Carrick was constantly surrounded by a triangle of Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta, who were the top three choices for player of the year. I thought Carrick did a valiant job, he’s simply outnumbered by several of the best players in the world.

    Our only credible defensive midfielder is Fletcher, and if he’s not available we’re just fucked, it’s a ridiculous state of affairs. To say nothing of the fact that most people believe we need better players than Hargreaves and Fletcher, at the moment we don’t even have them at all.

  87. han says

    Blog Commenter said:
    Have a moment and think about who you are calling a “cunt”.

    Yes, we lost the game, we are probably all bitterly dissapointed, but at the end of the day we lost to a much better team. There isn’t really much you can do to beat this Barca team when they are playing like they did yesterday. So much movement, so many runs. It was never going to be an easy task. Yes, there were some individual errors. I think switching Park and Giggs allowed the second goal, but I’m happy we didn’t go out to play destructive football and at least tried to beat them honestly.

    thank you for being the voice of reason
    barca are pretty unplayable when they indulge in the kind of passing they are well known for
    i don’t think SAF could have done anything about it save shooting messi before the game started
    we got no 19, reached a euro cup final and fa cup semi final (which if the FA hadn’t banned rooney, would have stood a huge chance of making it to the final) and all this from a shit talentless bollockless berbaforward side who everyone was writing off in August 2010
    i’m not shattered or suicidal about yesterday but do view we need some replacements in midfield as well as a decent goalie – the rest will be fine

  88. says

    Barca’s players have played together for years and the short passing press high game is second nature. And they can go and buy a marque player when they want ie. Villa.

    They are definitely in the top 3 club sides of all time with Madrid of the 60s and Milan of the 90s. We are the Champions of England and the 2nd best team in Europe, but still light years behind them.

  89. Ted says

    I’m still bemused that we played a flat 4 across the back, why for fucks sake? The game was always going to be won and lost in the middle of the park. We have’nt got the quality so we surely had to opt for quantity to try and contain thier slick passing and movement. The whole world and his fuckin dog knew exactly what their plan would be, and that was to concentrate as much posession as possible around Carrick. He is our weak link in those situations because he wont commit to a tackle. As soon as Barca got hold of the ball 35 yards from our goal, Carricks instincts are to instantly retreat which gives Iniesta all the time in the world to lift his head up and pick out the right pass. And it came off perfectly.

    The team should have been 3 across the back with either Scholes or Fabio making up the central 5. Never get tired of saying it, but Fergal is a motivator and will never be a master tactician so long as he’s got hole in his arse.

    Another European cup gifted to the opponents in the tunnel.

  90. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    but we were doing fine until fergie pulled the same stunt that cost us the arsenal game

  91. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    moving park in midflied

    its like fergie thinkgs any useless cunt can play in midfield as long as they run about a lot

  92. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    I partially agree with Knobby… Park is a rubbish footballer.. he has got a great engine, and is a useful tool for pressing and harrying, but once/if you get the ball back, you have to use it a lot better than we did.

    When the defence had the ball, they struggled to find anyone but themselves to pass to… Rio to Vidic, back to Rio, back to VDS… and eventually a long speculative punt up the pitch… some of that was down to the Barca pressing game… but mostly it was because our midfiled is pathetic… Scholes is too old, I don’t want to open that argument… but a younger, fitter Scholes would have made a HUGE difference… always available, always composed, and capable of playing a purposeful pass…

    I’m not trying to dismiss the excellence of Barcas football… they are, without doubt a better team than United… but… we knew exactly what the game was going to be like…. we knew they’d have 60+% of possession, and we knew we’d have to defend well, and be prepared to chase shadows in midfield… the issue was, once we got the ball back, that we used it much better than we did. Rooney was well up for this game, and if we’d have gotten him more involved, I’ve absolutely no doubt at all, that he’d have given their defence the shits… one of the few times he had the ball, in their end… and what happened?

    Barcelona beat us fair and square… but they are absolutely beatable… as good as they are in attack, they are completely ordinary in defence… you CAN score against them…

    IF we’d have had two class midfielders last night… for example… a fighting fit Scholes/Keane… that could well have been a much different game… and THAT for me is the most important thing to take away.

    We need 2 top class midfielders… at the very least… and I’m not talking about Ashley fuckin Young…

  93. chocolatteballs says

    Yea a younger scholes/fagregas.
    I used to think Stephen Ireland was that typa player but he’s not .

    On things for certain, Carrick is 30 odd now and no chance of improving whatsover.

    He hides from the ball,playmakers actually demand the ball.

    Who to buy?

  94. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    tbf signing young just looks embarrassing after yesterday, its a nothing signing

  95. sheesh says

    Some good posts in here today.
    Nani gave us some impetus when he came on but we always looked lacking without a decent midfield.
    Moving Park and Giggs made fuck all difference to the outcome of the game. We were lucky to go into half time at 1-1. Barcelona cut our defence to ribbons and had a few decent chances to score in that first half. Even our goal should have been ruled out for offside, We were never going to press them for the 90 mins. Against a side that has 70% of the ball, you’re going to knacker yourself out very quickly. Even if we’d played a 5 man midfield we would have lost.
    With the personnel we had, I thought we put out our best team and Fergie knew how we had to get at Barcelona. The problem was two-fold: our atrocious ball retention (especially the manner we kept hoofing the ball long) and the lack of quality in midfield. We did well to win the title this season but against the best team in the world we got found out for our lack of decent quality midfield options. Giggs simply hasn’t got the legs anymore. Him and Carrick up against the best midfield around…we never stood a chance.
    I’m worried about Evra. He’s had a poor season by his standards. Simply forgotten how to defend. His positional sense is a complete joke.

  96. Violent Banana says

    I just don’t understand why we don’t use 4-5-1 anymore, with Rooney up top. It’s a formation which has proven success against teams who like to keep the ball such as Arsenal, and we used it to beat Barcelona in 08. I’m convinced changing to a 4-4-1-1 formation cost us the game at the Emirates, and at Anfield this season. I seem to recall us playing 4-5-1 against Arsenal at Old Trafford in the PL (where we won), and in the FA Cup at OT (which we won), but apart from that, it’s hardly ever used.

    As regards to last night, I guess the question is whether Fletcher was fit enough – because if so, (as I said before the game many times) then I think it was a tacitical error on our part to let Carrick and Giggs deal with the best midfield 3 in Europe.

    Perhaps it’s not the United way to drop a bit deeper, let them pass it, and then press them when they come into our half – but let’s face it, neither is long ball football which is what we saw last night. And why were we pressing them where they can’t hurt us, and giving Messi so much space right outside our penalty area??

    Ultimately it might not have mattered, and you’ve got to credit Barca, but tactically I think Fergie missed a trick here.

  97. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    in hindsight, i’d have gone 4-3-3..

    but in hindsight fergie should have sorted this midfield out with 3 world class players bought in…. aND BENZEMA TOO!!

  98. says

    Just like ’09 our manager had a stinker and so has ruined my summer!! How on earth did we go 4-4-2 against these people? NO TEAM in the world can ever match Barca with a two-man central midfield and especially one that had no tackler.

    Am sure Barca could not believe their luck. We totally embarrassed Chico and made rooney look like a tool. Why on earth should we have had Fletcher on the bench. Barca have a system they have been playing for YEARS. They play in a league that allows them to treasure possession and then they have Messi. I said this in all the previews that Carrick and Giggs might have played well against Chelsea but that they would not get the same freedom and possession of the ball against barca. Not hard to imagine if you have seen Barca playing all these years. We had to go THREE in that middle and allow Rooney alone. We did not and got properly raped and disgraced at Wembley yet again.

  99. sheesh says

    Cal, they would have massacred us anyway because our midfield options aren’t good enough against the absolute best. Fletcher isn’t even half fit. The media were making the same observation in the open training session the day before the game.

    Massive summer ahead for us. We have got to buy some quality players in central midfield irrespective of cost.

  100. says

    They would have won anyway Sheesh. However, say Darren was not fit and we had started with Anderson alongside Carrick and Giggs then we would have Carrick SIT in that hole they exploited ALL evening and then ask Giggs and Anderson to match up with Iniesta and Xavi. At least we would have made slightly harder for them. It was way too easy mate. Too too easy.

  101. shauno says

    Comes down to having a good composed midfield three. i agree with some of the posts about scholes, Iniests is an absolute carbon copy of scholes in terms of movement and composure. They both have this incredible ability to slow time down by making space for themselves with the first touch. I’m not saying that we should have played Scholes from the start but in 2008 whilst we played a 4-5-1 scholes ran the game for most part except the last 15mins at OT. We where peaking as a unit then and they were still building this current team. I’m stuggling to think of a midfield 3 that could compete with the Barca 3 Fabregas, Modric and Sniedjer maybe if given a season or two to bed in. Only two of those are a possibility. Whilst we got well beaten last night we are not that far away. I can see us making the final again next season and with the right midfield combo we could win it and both the twins as wing backs. Just not with the current crop of midfielders. If you gave Rooney a free role in front of the Barca midfield he would score 40+ goals. The blue print is there build your team round Rooney in a 4-3-3 and shut up shop with a 4-5-1

  102. sheesh says

    The cameras panned in on Fergie when we were well beaten and, in that one moment, I felt so sorry for him. His fists were clenched and shaking, almost as if he was struggling to keep his emotions under control. He must have had absolute conviction in the players. I really felt for him. Here’s a clip of what I mean:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZwPQJyMuQI

    • Liam says

      Yea I noticed that myself, felt very sorry for him too. Probably a combination of anger, frustration, despair and he was probably cold

  103. triggs says

    I know everyone loves him, but Chico was crap yesterday. He’s young and he’ll learn but being offside that many times, when we only get the ball for 30% of the time, is unacceptable.
    Anyone suggesting that Fletch would’ve made the slightest difference yesterday, when he couldn’t even control Charlie Adam last week, is fucking mental. Playing 451 would not have made that much difference. Rooney did a very good job of sitting on Busquets, but Xavi and Iniesta were still able to get the ball and dictate. If we’d played 451, yes Xavi and Iniesta would have had less space, but it would have just meant Busquets was free all the time. The 4411 formation allowed us to counter-attack quickly, but we failed to pass accurately enough and we couldnt get Tony V and Park in the game offensively.
    Some pathetic moaning on here. We got spanked by one of the best teams of the last 30 years. I think Fergie made a few errors yes, but there’s not much any team can do when Barca don’t have an off day. He won’t admit it, but even Mourinho’s accepted that.

  104. han says

    u could have had 11 uncleknobheads on that pitch and we would still have been buggered
    and ffs – grow a pair and accept that we were 2nd best last night
    and as for those who are moaning about SAF, you need your heads tested – we achieved another title with a shit on a stick squad if you believe the ABU media thanks to his motivation, hunger and determination

  105. vlad says

    Noone cares, but 1 day after the game the defeat hurts more.

    People here say that we should buy, and buy big, and that may indeed be the case.
    Definitely Glazers did not bring the club a single ounce of good, and we’ll prolly get just Tom Cleverly as a new midfielder.
    But do we really need Sneijder?
    Will Modric/Bale on for Park/Giggs make a difference against Barcelona?
    i doubt it strongly.

    Some people say that younger Scholes and Keane could make a difference, but i’m not so sure.
    We lost to Bayern with them well in the team 10 years ago; this Barcelona is better.

    Yes we probably need to reinforce the team in general, and the midfield in particular, we need new names, but we should not be in a hurry to call names and identify scapegoats.
    We’ll most probably squander the game vs Catalans again.

    And this is exactly what hurts.
    i cannot make myself to call them ‘Barca’, i’d rather stick to smth like the ‘B-team’.
    They’ve got beauty and efficiency but for my money they can go and make love to the ball as much as they can.
    Messi and the other Argentines can stick it up their asses too.
    i’d love Jose to beat them with Madrid.
    I’m sorry that we could not give van der Sar a better final.
    I’m sorry SAF won’t stay at the helm to see the B-team diminish, like it happenned to Stefan Effenberg’s B-team.

    Or should i Believe?
    i want revenge so much.
    i want us to play them every effing season in the CL with our young players.
    i want THIS fixture to become ‘el classico’.

  106. NameOnTheTrophy says

    ^ get a bunch of ten year olds.. stuff the “receieve-pass-receive” philosophy into their heads for 15 years.. and we might probably beat them football wise..
    atleast thats what they did to us..

  107. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    I don’t ever wanna play like barcelona
    442, xfactory wingers, top man in the hole off the striker, tempo, pace, never mind the bollocks football, that’s utd ffs
    only rooney of our lot fits the mould
    schweinsteiger benzema and bale do an all

    LKHF

    faffing

  108. says

    I think the problem was the our formation pretty was a 4-4-2 which was suicide. We needed Rooney to be playing a lot deeper. If we get another crack at this it has to be a 4-4-1-1 or just 4-5-1 with Rooney up top.

  109. han says

    vlad said:
    Noone cares, but 1 day after the game the defeat hurts more.

    People here say that we should buy, and buy big, and that may indeed be the case.
    Definitely Glazers did not bring the club a single ounce of good, and we’ll prolly get just Tom Cleverly as a new midfielder.
    But do we really need Sneijder?
    Will Modric/Bale on for Park/Giggs make a difference against Barcelona?
    i doubt it strongly.

    Some people say that younger Scholes and Keane could make a difference, but i’m not so sure.
    We lost to Bayern with them well in the team 10 years ago; this Barcelona is better.

    Yes we probably need to reinforce the team in general, and the midfield in particular, we need new names, but we should not be in a hurry to call names and identify scapegoats.
    We’ll most probably squander the game vs Catalans again.

    And this is exactly what hurts.
    i cannot make myself to call them ‘Barca’, i’d rather stick to smth like the ‘B-team’.
    They’ve got beauty and efficiency but for my money they can go and make love to the ball as much as they can.
    Messi and the other Argentines can stick it up their asses too.
    i’d love Jose to beat them with Madrid.
    I’m sorry that we could not give van der Sar a better final.
    I’m sorry SAF won’t stay at the helm to see the B-team diminish, like it happenned to Stefan Effenberg’s B-team.

    Or should i Believe?
    i want revenge so much.
    i want us to play them every effing season in the CL with our young players.
    i want THIS fixture to become ‘el classico’.

    you need to get out more this summer

  110. Ichiro says

    We were shite and the blame goes to Ferguson. He didnt learn anything from the 2009 final and failed to make changes quick enough.

    Nani should have been brought on quicker, fuck it he should have started and I said that long before the game. Rooney should have dropped deep and helped out the midfield. Scholes should have started ahead of Giggs, simply because he would not give the ball away as much and has the quality to ping passes over the top to Chicharito.

    I was really disappointed that we seemed even to lose the physical battles and seemed scared to challenge for the ball.

    We must buy at least two players with proper quality whatever the cost or we will never catch up to Barca and Real. You just need to look at the teamsheets to know we are way behind in terms of quality

  111. Sidsidney says

    Ichiro, there isn’t an 11 or a formation at our disposal that would have seen us beat Barcelona. I don’t think anybody is equipped to beat Barca when they’re playing that well.

    They are a phenomenom. Liverpool, City & Arsenal are mocking us like, but they would have got dicked goodn proper too – maybe worse. Same with Madrid etc. There isn’t a team in Europe that would have given them a proper game when they’re in that mood.

    Did anybody else notice they stopped closing us down after the third goal(otherwise they could have scored 5 or 6) and it looked like we were playing a normal team.

  112. sheesh says

    If Bendtner wasn’t such a piss poor excuse for a centre forward, Barcelona wouldn’t have been in this year’s final. He should have scored in the final minute against them in the Nou Camp.

  113. Sidsidney says

    But he’s shit and a cunt

    I wish we’d have played them over two legs. We’d have arse raped them at Old Trafford

  114. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Cocks… this forum is full of fuckin cocks.

    Knobby is the only one who seems to have any bollocks… the rest of you seem to have given up… “oh Barca is just too good, and we couldn’t beat them with a 12 man midfield”… horse shit!

    We scored a crackin goal against them last night, and if we’d shown a bit more composure with the ball, during the 35% that we had it, we might have scored again… but not only that… if we’d shown the ability to use the ball better, and offer more of a threat, then they would NOT have been so cocky, and pressed with such a high line… everything is relative… if we’d played better WITH the ball, they would have been less aggressive without it.

    The problem is… we don’t have the players… we just don’t…

    Cal and whoever… you can talk all the shit you like about how Ferguson got it all wrong with 4-4-2… I say he had the right idea… get after their defence… that is their weakness… 4-5-1 would have been an excercise in defending… and nothing more…

    Ferguson wanted to outscore Barcelona, and I admire him for that… but we don’t have the players for it… our midfield is rubbish, and Chico is too green… and quite possibly, not good enough anyway.

    I just hope… that Ferguson has still got one more team left in him… because he said this Barca side was the best team he’s ever faced… maybe he’ll reconsider his “youth only” policy then, and bring in the class players necessary to give Barcelon a proper game… because I agree with Knobby… we bring in 2 or 3 proper footballers and play the United way… and let’s see if Barcelona can live with that!

  115. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    we dont have the players for the united way…..so 433 was the way to go in hindsight

    4 needed plus a new goalie, then we go back to the united way

    one problem though…barcelona have the worlds best midfielders so even if we get 3 world class midfielders, they still wont be as good as theirs

    still reckon our 99 midfield is one of the best ever and on par with theirs

  116. squigs says

    Everything is so clear in hindsight, at the time I applauded Fergie’s selection and while I was suprised at the selection of Fabio (Who did well in fairness) he picked a good XI with the right idea to go out and get them.

    We have to possibly look post Fergie here, the Barcelona team was assembled with 6 academy players, 7 if you included Pique, for those saying go out on a spree and buy X and Y, take this as your lead. Bringing the right youngsters through will pay dividends, it always has for Manchester United.

    People forget Manchester United overachieved this season, We have won a poor league and we rode our luck with a very average league winning side. We should be proud to have gotten so far but we were beaten by an excellent side.

  117. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    if the youngsters were good enough fergie would be playing them…as it is he is giving gibson etc an opportunity…clearly not good enough then…

  118. squigs says

    Well that would be my point, look into why we can’t produce players of sufficient quality. Fuck knows it that we have the resources and a history of producing these players, for every Gibson we have players such as Pogba, Tunnicliffe and Morrison, who will eventually make that step up. Fergie ditched the Pique’s and Rossi’s of this world and they were good enough.

    Barcelona are reaping the benefits from Cryuff’s reform of the youth system 20 years ago.

  119. Sidsidney says

    captainhormone said:
    no we wouldn’t

    Barca’s away record in Europe is pretty shite. Even Arsenal overwhelmed them.

    And our away record in Europe is incredible. I don’t think we’ve conceded a goal away from home (Wembley is neutral).

    If we’d have met them in the quaters or semis and played the way we did at Old Trafford against Chelsea in the first 45 minutes, we’d have won the match. Because when you play quick, one-touch dynamic football with shitloads of movement it doesn’t matter who you come up against, it’s almost unplayable.

    That’s the United way that we should (and will) persue.

  120. Violent Banana says

    I said we needed to play 4-5-1 long before last night, this argument has nothing to do with hindsight.

    We pressed them too far up the pitch – let them make 15 passes between their back four – it’s not going to hurt us there. What annoyed me is that we’re pressing there LB in their own half when he has so many passing options, and giving the best player in the world time right outside our penalty area to pick his spot, pose for the camera’s, smile, call his mum, call his dad, and then score. We gave them space in the areas they can really hurt us.

    We had to play ugly to beat them, drop back, soak up the pressure, and then break. And break by passing it, not hoofing it up to the channels in the hope that we’d pick up the second ball. Barcelona are a great team full of great players, but our tactics helped them look good.

  121. Ted says

    I don’t get all this “Uniteds youth policy” dogshit? It was 20 fuckin years ago when we got lucky with Butty Beckham Scholes Giggs the Nevs. What teenagers have we brought through since that have become medal winning regulars.

  122. squigs says

    It wasn’t getting lucky, it was having the correct coaches and scouting around at the time, in particular Eric Harrison.

  123. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    good points sq and ted…barca have a huge catchment area of 10 million plus with only espanyol as competition to choose from…they always get the cream…we on the other hand have the 90 minute ruling in the uk, hence the foreign imports….on top of that we have so many good clubs to contend with too…everton, liverpool, citeh, villa etc all within 90 minutes of manchester….

    barca just dont have that problem, hence why your fabregas’s, piques etc can afford to be lost as they have more to choose from…of course they want these lads back eventually, but if they had stayed they would not have made it

  124. Ichiro says

    its not just their youth system, theyre not afraid to spend either. Alves, Villa, Mascherano were all 20m or more.

  125. herbie simms says

    I listened to the analysts on BBC today giving their opinions on the game. They said United need to find a quality left back to replace Evra. They also said that Rooney and Ferdinand were the only players that did their jobs, the rest were just useless. SAF made a big mistake by not playing a central defensive midfielder, either Fletcher or Anderson because Barcelona are dangerous coming through the middle. They also went on to say that in a big game of this magnitude, Berbatov had to play and start the match and Hernandez should have been the sub. Nani should have started on the left instead of Giggs because even though it is not his best position, to defenders he is one of the most feared players in the world. In summing up, SAF made some big tactical mistakes that really cost United dearly. But Guardiola said that its his style of football and the type of players that he has bought in to play the type of football that he wants to play, is the reason why Barcelona is so successful. He also said he always looks for quality, skillful, inteligent players that can read and think the game. What amazes me is why SAF continues to use Anderson as a central defensive midfielder when he is an attacking central midfielder. When Anderson left Brazil, he was rated as one of the best young attacking midfielders in that country. Anderson has said in the past that he has struggled to play in this defensive midfield position at United and thats why in most games, fans are saying Anderson is not having a good game. All I can say is, SAF has got a lot of work to do this summer. Do you think Rafael and Fabio should be groomed for our future fullback positions? They also look good in attacking midfield postions.

  126. bman says

    Shoulda woulda coulda. Fergie probably played the only team he could given the players at his disposal. There’s a strong argument to be made for playing 4-5-1, but with who? Anderson? The Carrick-Giggs-Anderson trio is exactly the line-up that got annihilated last time. Fletcher wasn’t available, again. Scholes probably would have felt compelled to make horror tackles.

    We need more, better players, it’s simple as that.

    Barca have a special situation going on where the have a really special generation of players that came up from their youth system, as special or even more so than the famous United generation of Scholes, Beckham etc. Plus on top of that, they have essentially infinite money to spend to fill out the ranks. They’ve spent huge sums on Ibrahimovic, Villa, Et’o etc., and their wage expenses are through the roof.

    So not to take anything away from the skill of their players or the talent of their coach or the quality of their youth system, but “golden generation + unmatched cash = really food fucking team”. Real can’t match them at the moment because they have the cash, but not the same quality of youth players to build on. We’ve not neither the same quality of youth players nor the same amount of money, so we look well shit against them.

  127. sheesh says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Cocks… this forum is full of fuckin cocks.

    Knobby is the only one who seems to have any bollocks… the rest of you seem to have given up… “oh Barca is just too good, and we couldn’t beat them with a 12 man midfield”… horse shit!

    We scored a crackin goal against them last night, and if we’d shown a bit more composure with the ball, during the 35% that we had it, we might have scored again… but not only that… if we’d shown the ability to use the ball better, and offer more of a threat, then they would NOT have been so cocky, and pressed with such a high line… everything is relative… if we’d played better WITH the ball, they would have been less aggressive without it.

    The problem is… we don’t have the players… we just don’t…

    Cal and whoever… you can talk all the shit you like about how Ferguson got it all wrong with 4-4-2… I say he had the right idea… get after their defence… that is their weakness… 4-5-1 would have been an excercise in defending… and nothing more…

    Ferguson wanted to outscore Barcelona, and I admire him for that… but we don’t have the players for it… our midfield is rubbish, and Chico is too green… and quite possibly, not good enough anyway.

    We all accept that we need new players especially in midfield. Nobody has said “OMG Barcelona are unbeatable lolz” but, at this point in time, they are a country mile ahead of us. We gave it our best shot and Fergie had the right idea but it was always going to be a tough ask with the personnel we have got.

    But, yeah, go suckle on Knobhead’s teat.

  128. han says

    sheesh said:
    We all accept that we need new players especially in midfield. Nobody has said “OMG Barcelona are unbeatable lolz” but, at this point in time, they are a country mile ahead of us. We gave it our best shot and Fergie had the right idea but it was always going to be a tough ask with the personnel we have got.

    But, yeah, go suckle on Knobhead’s teat.

    nice one sheesh – there is a load of bollox being spouted on here but the fact remains that barca were superior in all departments on saturday and we were lucky to not get gang banged with only 3 goals against us – it could have been 5 or 6 and then we would be feeling rather more sore
    i’m sure knobend has got another teat for anyone else who wants to have a go too – he knows u know

  129. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    sheesh said:
    We all accept that we need new players especially in midfield. Nobody has said “OMG Barcelona are unbeatable lolz” but, at this point in time, they are a country mile ahead of us. We gave it our best shot and Fergie had the right idea but it was always going to be a tough ask with the personnel we have got.

    But, yeah, go suckle on Knobhead’s teat.

    Oh my Sheeshy… feeling a bit left out, are we?

    Jealousy is very unattractive Mate.

  130. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    han said:
    nice one sheesh – there is a load of bollox being spouted on here but the fact remains that barca were superior in all departments on saturday and we were lucky to not get gang banged with only 3 goals against us – it could have been 5 or 6 and then we would be feeling rather more sore
    i’m sure knobend has got another teat for anyone else who wants to have a go too – he knows u know

    Ha… yeah, I’m not surprised you applaud Sheesh for his post… you are one of the “cocks” I was talking about.

  131. han says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Ha… yeah, I’m not surprised you applaud Sheesh for his post… you are one of the “cocks” I was talking about.

    aye alf – i actually agreed with what he posted – shock, horror etc
    and it takes one to know one……just cos we don’t all agree with u u tashioed bender knobheadloving tree hugger

  132. han says

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Oh my Sheeshy… feeling a bit left out, are we?

    Jealousy is very unattractive Mate.

    but a massive ego is ok then?

  133. says

    SAF got it wrong. Which team in the last three seasons has played them with a two man central midfield Alf? That was why we are very lucky not to have conceded more than three. it could easily have been far worse. We made so much easier for them in a game we needed to be tight and safe FIRST. We went for a shoot-out with a team like that.

    I hate to say this but if Rafa benitez had to set the team up with the same players he would not have allowed us to go 4-4-2. We would have choked the midfield FIRST and rely on anything we can get on the break. Barca would have had to work harder than we made them. Rio and Vida were fit and so they would have squeezed up and then Carrick would have just sat in front in that area were Barca do the worst damage. It does not matter if it was a boring game. MANY OF US WOULD HAVE TAKING A BORING ONE NIL DEFEAT TO WHAT WE HAD ON SATURDAY.

  134. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Cal… with a 4-5-1… it would have been no different… we just don’t have the midfield players… we still would have been chasing them around the pitch, but we’d have had even less threat going forward when we got the ball back.

    The problem was not getting the ball back… we had exactly as much possession as we expected… 30/40%… it’s what we did with it… nothing… Fergie wanted Rooney to drop deep to help out the midfield, and leave Chico up top to give their defense something to worry about… it might actually have worked IF…

    We’d have shown a bit more composure on the few times we had the ball… and if Chico hadn’t kept stepping offside.

    A capable 4-4-2 was capable of scoring more goals against that defense… but sadly… we didn’t have the midfield for that either… and Chico showed his inexperience.

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