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LIVE BLOG: Barcelona vs UNITED – Champions League Final


Manchester United v Barcelona: 2011 Champions League Final

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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541 Comments

  1. ohiored says:

    @Zelh

    My point was that you cannot beat a Barca team with players who can’t even get into their own national teams.

    Carrick can’t even get into the England team and we all now good England is!

    VDS and Giggs have been loyal servants, two of the best players of their generation but they don’t even play for their national teams.

    Fabio has had 1 or 2 call ups by Brazil, but still not good enough to get into the Brazilian team.

    I am United fan through and through but some times you have to face reality that you are just not good enough.

  2. willierednut says:

    VDS and Giggs are retired from international football. Good grief.

  3. MG says:

    Sorry can’t sleep

    A point

    9 times champions 400 million pounds in the making Real Madrid were not good enough for Barcelona

    Enough said

    Someone will have to work out a way to beat Barca I still believe with the right players we can do that the United way…

    Shame we couldn’t do that today – their defence was their for the taking

  4. Zelh says:

    are you serious with your international team shit?
    van der Sar, giggs and scholes and park RETIRED!

    capello was ready to suck on scholes balls if he would have gone to the WC.

    Rio, Vidic and Evra all stars in ther teams if not captains. Fabio 20 years old and brazil is strong on these positions with bastos and alves.

    Rooney keyplayer in the england squad, hernandez and valencia too.
    Why Carrick is not playing for england is an enigma for me and I’m not even english.
    he’s a way better player than barry and played worldclass in the games against chelsea.

  5. swede says:

    Football makes no sense cause we had a better side in 2009 final but lost big time and today we were outplayed but still performed better than in 2009. Anyway we have played for CL finals and won 2 and lost 2 but it is about being in the final. The way United works they always get revenge in the end like this season when we secured title at Rovers where we lost the title season before.
    If we must lose a few CL finals in order to win the PL title instead then that’s fine for me. I’d rather see a spanish side rule in Europe than an italian one.
    Season put to bed and all in all we can feel good about ourselves and the fact that we rule at home. Defeat always makes United bounce back in style and we should see the club invest in a few great players this summer.
    My heart goes out to our fans who were there and some paid a fortune to be there but of all defeats this was the most expected beforehand and I already feel as if the game was played a few months ago. Not used to a game that was so easy to analyse as this one was in the end.
    Today we faced a side that is perhaps the greatest side ever or the most drugged up one and there are plenty of us who still fear that Abidals cancer came from doping but we pray it didn’t. I wouldn’t be at alla surprised if we get that trophy sent by mail after a drugs scandal tomorow.

  6. StatesideAussie says:

    Swede, we won the CL in 68, 99 and 08. That makes three, buddy.

  7. Clint-IamYourPapii says:

    Men The best Team Won

    They are not better or bigger than United or Will ever be

    We must try & forget this pain because you can guarantee we will face them again in the next 2 years and When That day Come we will hope to throw our best at them In Hope of Victory.

    The point of defeat is not to take joy in the matter but to Learn more about ourselves and then grow as a Team & bounce back from this.

    Our Club Embodies being UNITED
    It may Hurt Like Mad But What this club has achieved is a magnicent Privelege to have witnessed.

    Please Do Not Insult our Players, they are ours & Many of Them Hurt as Much as Us.
    The team is in need of tweaking not complete overhaul.

    The greater worry is to replace the fire & ability of : (in the future)

    VDS – GOD BLESS THE MAN Legend….I will Miss Him
    Red Nev – Hopefully the Twins :D
    Scholes
    Giggs
    Hargo?
    Keano

  8. Samuel - united WE stand says:

    Stateside aussie – i don’t think a hargreaves would have done much in this game, united would have needed a couple more like him and we’d still have struggled, i wonder if anderson would have being a better option due to his energy and all pace, united certainly lacked it in there.

    I think the villa goal killed the game though because at 2 – 1, there is always a way for united to claw it back, anyways if’s and but’s, fact is this current united midfield isn’t good enough at the highest level, it does not support the front men enough and that shown tonight, i mean if we can’t even keep the ball for more than 10 second, how the fuck are we meant to pose valdez any threat? yet again we’ve come away from a final wondering if more could have being done but there is too much predictable workman like players in the team, we need to bring in some magical players, capable of winning a game alone, thats what barca had which we didnt.

    Also the young players in the youth team need to be trusted more and giving a chance.

  9. Samuel - united WE stand says:

    er

  10. StatesideAussie says:

    SAF has said that Berbatov was in the dressing room at the end. He says he decided to overload the subs bench with midfielders, to the extent that he only had room for one sub defender and one striker. and he wanted owen for his ability to nick a late goal.

  11. Another Red says:

    @Samuel

    “i said on here Numerous of times that hernandez needs to improve, his all round is lacking and that shown tonight, the job of a striker has envolved and they do more than scoring, look at shift villa puts in”

    20 goals in his first season, just 1 goal less than Berbatov in his first season as a Red!!.. What more do you want??

    Hernandez has been shitfing games all season, he works hard, but you cant beat Barcelona with just one man, not even Ronaldo could do that.. You just cant beat Barca if theyre having a good day, not even when we are the BEST team of this League!

  12. denton davey says:

    I wrote before this match that I would have deployed Antonio Valencia at “right back” to get Nani into the game. Fabio had a good game but Antonio Valencia had his worst match since returning from his injury. Nani’s inventiveness was missed. This begs a question: Why did SAF use a conventional four-at-the-back but just two in central midfield and two on the wing who did not provide width ?

    I also hoped (against hope !) that Patrice Evra wouldn’t go walkabout – did anyone else remark that all three of Barcelona’s goals came from the right side of their attack ? – but my fears on that score were realized not once but twice ! His play was really undisciplined.

    In the end, though, the real issue is that Barcelona were better – they kept the ball and they kept THeLads at arm’s length for most of the match. Overall, therefore, whatever SAF’s new tactics were – they either didn’t work or they weren’t implemented by his players.

  13. Nasko 1 says:

    It is, no Berba no WIN !!!

  14. Samuel - united WE stand says:

    A

  15. StatesideAussie says:

    Samuel (and whoever) … well, if the measuring stick is “ability to beat Barcelona”, then, yes, our current midfield is not enough. But who is?

    I agree we need to bring in some talent. The retirements of Scholes and (soon, I guess) Giggs make that imperative, in light of the academy apparently being not quite ready just yet.

    But just going out and buying a few of the best MFs available, won’t necessarily solve the “problem” of how to beat Barcelona. Which is the problem we’re talking about, because as it stands, I’d back us to beat anyone else I can think of.

    Usually, it would be good enough, but in the case of Barca, it isn’t. Bringing in new players is a way to implement a strategy, but that only helps if you have a strategy — one that can be implemented and will work (or has a good chance of working, because nothing is for sure). Right now, I don’t know that anyone has a strategy for beating Barca, and certainly not for beating them consistently (I am ignoring “ugly” solutions like Inter used last year). And unless you have such a plan, just going out and buying top players won’t necessarily solve the problem. I mean, look at the virus — look how much money they’ve spent, and they still beat Barca only 1 out of 5 this year. Look at how much City have spent. Do you think they could beat Barca?

  16. seanmthered says:

    Theyre just better then us and everyone else by a country mile i love my football team and i always will UNITED

  17. carBANGrick says:

    Carrick did his best, but his best wasnt enough against the best of the best. I see some slagging off barca’s tika taka style but have now gone quiet after we lost comprehensively. To close the gap is not hoping pple like Carrick will come good when the time comes, but strengthening the squad and adding steel with creativity in the midfield. I saw SAF clenching his fist trembing towards the end, he be sure to make changes to the squad.

  18. Devil310 says:

    Just finished watching the game again….

    Anyone here taking a piss off Carrick should be slapped in the face.

    Carrick did a good job in Midfield and worked really hard for the team.

    Unfortunately, Giggs had a below par game along side him…he had a great season, but he is 37 and it was still our best option when considering we need creativity moving forward in midfield

  19. Chicharitoooo says:

    Barcelona should be congratulated, I love United till I die but I agree with Ferguson that we lost to a better team.

    It’s sad thought that Chicharito couldn’t have any chance to showcase his talent on the biggest game of the season and VDS bowing out in a game like that.

    We may have been beaten but hell I’m sure we’ll be back next year and in the future cause I only have one word regarding my beloved United. B-E-L-I-E-V-E.

  20. dannysoya says:

    It’s been a day of reflection for me. But i want to urge and admonish all united fans. Hold your heads up high. We did our best. It is near impossible to stop that Juggernaut as we all witnessed today, Special praise goes to van der sar , the two centre backs and wayne rooney for giving it their all. The wingers weren’t really good and they kept getting sucked in and leaving barca with acres of space out wide but it’s all good. It’s not like any team can beat barca in this sort of form. Hey we’re the second best team in the world. We’ll reach the top soon enough. Ignore nonsense from other fans. Do not associate yourself with failures and that is what they are. Thank you United for a great season and we’ll miss you Van Der Sar. Next season is gonna be wonderful for us. i can already see it. UNITED!!!!

  21. suhayl says:

    stateside is right…players personnel and money would not have made any difference at all

    cos ur fighting against a unique style of play an a uniquw ungrained philosophy bred into their culture and style and all the kids who join la masia…from those kids to the first team they all play the same.

    money wont count for shit look at real…Hasnt helped them has it.

    Saying that…we need a desperate overhaul in midfield and it is loooooooooooooong overdue

  22. suhayl says:

    barca have become an exception to the rule

    we would have beaten any other team in europe…..cos fundamentally we all play the same

    our misfortune we have bumped into the unique midgets twice…….a once in a gen team

    Its up to all the big teams to convene and find a way…a solution to the catalans

    its everybodys problem…not just ours

  23. Ash says:

    Its no shame losing to the best team in the world.Yeah they are the best team.You know for the first time I watched barca so closely as they were playing us and they proved that they are in adifferent league.
    Now having said that I want to say we should be proud of our club and our manager.No one expected us to be playing in A final but we proved everyone wrong and reached the final.And i am confident we would have beaten barca if it was a two legged affair Our approach was very conservative and that was not correct.
    My only complain about this game is with two players 1)Valencia who i expected to show a better performance and second Carrick.Now don’t get me wrong but he is not the same carrick he was 2 or 3 years ago.Imagine if hargo was playing instead of carrick we would have won.Even fletcher is a better player than carrick.I don’t believe in stats but when i saw the comparison of passing between carrick and xavi I was shocked.Carrick should improve.
    And I hope scholes and giggsy give way for youngster.I really love them but time has come for them to retire especially scholes.Fuck i hope he always stayed in his 20′s and performed the scholes way.
    And to end I will say a big THANK YOU to Edwin Van Der Sar.
    Manchester united forever 20/4

  24. jimmy1978 says:

    We are not use to playing an opponent who dictates to us. When it happens you get us rolling over. See today as an example.

  25. dannysoya says:

    Fergie said it himself. United are not used to man marking. Which is why messi had so much space all the time. So guess who we should go for in the market? PREMIER MAN MARKSMEN. Mourinho man marked Messi thrice. He succeeded once in the copa del rey. We need someone who can man mark special players. Carrick obviously can’t do that. Park tried but he was inevitably gonna get tired. The beginning of the second half was very costly as we thought barca were gonna be cautious and so we decided to expose EVERYTHING to them and they made us pay. You don’t leave messi that free and not get punished. All the goals today that they scored could have easily been prevented. Had Evra stayed out wide pedro wouldn’t have been so free. Had ANYBODY put pressure on messi he wouldn’t have taken that shot. Had nani cleared his lines No way villa could have scored.

  26. parth_312 says:

    Here we go with some fucking moron coming on to the site to say, “Oh Carrick is shit, Giggs is past it, we need a tough defensive midfielder”.. Did u even watch the game, or the entire season for that matter. United competed very well against a worldclass side. Barca stepped up a gear in the second half and Messi is unstoppable at times. Carrick was very good last nite. He did his job and then some more. Giggs was good in patches but even he could see it was a losing battle. I am not as upset as i was 2 years ago. I thought we showed some intent, we had a gameplan and stuck to that even when we were behind. Its been a brilliant season where we have exceeded expectations with limited resources of quality. Its all very easy sitting in your armchair and playing manager. So is coming on to a United blog and badmouthing your own players even after they tried their best. Put ur hand up and say “Sometimes your opponent is too good on his day” and there isnt much you did wrong. I have no complaints from last nite. We didnt roll over. They just broke down our barriers with stunning precision.

  27. parth_312 says:

    You talk about putting pressure on them, pressing them so that they cant get their shots away. Do u know who you are dealing with. A side that has multiple options in attack so when you close one down, you leave space for another avenue. What If’s dont work in this game. Villa’s shot was once-in-lifetime goal.Precision under pressure. So was Messi’s. Vidic didnt try to commit to the challenge because Messi would have just jinked past him and been in a one-on-one with VDS. For the Pedro goal, Evra did the right thing. He covered Messi’s run who was in Vidic’s blindspot. A midfielder should be checkin the centre runs. Unfortunately Giggs was way out of position.

  28. dannysoya says:

    @Parth i do respect your opinion however i think that Pedro was evra’s man.If you watch the replays and analysis. Everyone was picking up a man except pedro. Patrice evra wandered inside like he did for most of the first half leaving space on the outside. Fergie even gave valencia an on field hairdryer because he kept on getting sucked in. Barcelona play with outstanding width. coming in all the time does not help in the slightest. We did our best but it wasn’t good enough. I can categorically say that if anybody put pressure on Lionel Messi he would not have taken that shot. Are you telling that one man out of four ball watching men could not at least rush him and at least ruffle a few feathers? It was definitely not vidic’s fault. He was doing the right thing as he did for most of the night but at least someone should have put a bit of pressure on him.we could have got a goal back with like 12 mins left and then we could have made it a real game but hey these things happen. The third was clearly an error at the back we actually got the ball back and lost it almost immediately. If carrick or nani had fired that ball away villa would not have balanced and finished us off. Great goal notwithstanding. All i’m saying is that they were goals that could have been prevented not extraordinary goals but their play was extraordinary though.

  29. Red Coppel says:

    All valid point has been mentioned. However it is my view that the one aspect that disapointed me is our surrendering of the ball almost as soon as we won it. That affected the quality of our movement forward. They were never stretched like we were when we tried to go forward. Which simply emphasizes the need for CM’s that hold on to the ball…and dont give it away in the rush and anxiety to get it forward. When the pass is not on, we are not skilled enough to hold on to the bloody ball. The use of the ball once we got hold of it irked me way more than how good Barcelona and Messi was.

  30. Mr C says:

    My heart sank when I saw no Berbatov on the bench.

    United have the set up and firepower to deal with any premiership level side regardless of who we play up front, but Barcelona are a different kettle of fish in terms of how they need to be approached system wise. Barcelona are not, however, unbeatable and they are NOT the ‘greatest team ever’ as the press hypobole would have us believe. In the opening minutes I thought United had Barca’s measure when playing our own attacking game. However, as happens to most teams we got mesmerised by Barca’s tippy tappy shit and began holding off deeper and deeper…its at time like this that we really miss Hargreaves. Anyway, in Berbatov we have the most skilful player in the Premiership, a genuine world class player who can unlock any defence in terms of assists and goals, including Barca’s so I truly hope he does not leave. In Hernandez we have a world class goal sniffer, and in Rooney we have perhaps the most versatile and hard working attack-minded player in the world. There just has to be a way of combining all three in the starting line up.

  31. willierednut says:

    @suhayl 4.04

    Spot on mate.

  32. kel says:

    Hi mates, yesterday was a match that we can forget. Barcelona are just too strong. We nearly won the trophies twice. I wonder how on earth can we beat them. Looking at their sub bench makes me think how can they win their matches will their almost same players week in week out the all season. Messi cant burnt out.. Can we improve and match them? I dont think do. Real madrid spending so much cash cant, how on earth can we beat when we seldom invest?

    Maybe we can improve this summer. Just maybe.. Dont put up so much hope…

  33. torontored says:

    Gutted – fucking gutted. They are a very, very good team. They had us beat almost in every position, especially in the middle. Second goal did us – third was icing on their cake.

    But having now digested this game – look to the future. Who’s going, – Scholes and VDS for sure.

    Who’s coming in – well a keeper.

    Do we need new players or do we anticipate the existing squad will be there next and expect a rejinking.

    Can see Rooney heading into the middle – ditto with Nani, on occasion (as opposed to a wide middle player). Ando for me should have started. We have a load of good under 23 year old players – will they gel into something as good as what we played last night. Potential is definately there – can they kick it up a notch and go from good to great

    Are the players comng up such as James/Morrisson/Pogba etc going to be as good as those going out.

    Long term is the key – this Barca team is going to be our benchmark – can we reach their standard – not next year but in one. two or three years time?

    All in all, on reflection a decent season – NUMBER 19 helps as did winning the Youth Trophy again.

    Next year will be very hard – centre back quality in depth is still for me a big question mark. Depth in the striker role as well. New keeper is always a worry.

    Thanks lads – you lost last night but you played probably one of the best teams ever. You kept on running – the clock just ran down.

    UNITED 20/4/12 – 2012

  34. Clint-IamYourPapii says:

    Im Gutted, I was 75% sure we would win :(

    However Im Trying My best to stay Positive, atching the the defeats to Barca & bayern last year their are certain players I will never question because they have proven their ability and commitment since in big games Therefore I will never bad mouth or criticise them:

    Fletcher Valencia Legends: VDS scholesy, giggs
    Rafa Nani
    fabio Carrick
    Rio Gibson The Berb
    Vida Rooney Park
    O’Shea Chico Hargo

    The Fellas Above are Immune from Criticism from me And Those Omitted are either Bit Part players, to soon to judge, Wasters & Those Who are a weak link in United and Have been ommited.

    I will Never Excessively Criticise Our Own, But The Few who deserve it will recieve my support But Will have to Improve a huge amount to Win my Respect.

  35. Prasac says:

    In early 70′s when I started to support United, I’ve watched Villa, Forest and Liverpool all winning CL.
    Within years I become immune to our failure of winning trophies. Even in my wildest dreams I didn’t expect us to win PL or CL. Look at our trophy cabinet today and you can not feel anything but ultimate proud. Four PL and one CL trophy in last few years including two CL finals.
    Don’t distrust in SAF. With current United team Guardiola or Mourinho would hardly fight for CL spot.

  36. Clint-IamYourPapii says:

    Winning #19 Is a Huge Achievement and all this Loss has Done is Take a Bit off The Gloss off it :(

    However Now we Can look foward to the 20th & 4th CL next season.

    I will Enter Transfer Muppetry now :P

    Expected Outgoings;

    VDS
    Wes brown
    Scholes (?)
    Berba(?)
    Owen
    Hargreaves

    *Note* – Gibbson hasn’t been offered a contract yet Carrick fletch, evra, rooney have signed but not him :(

    incoming:

    David De Gea
    Raphael Varane (?)
    Young (?) Please No !
    Hopefuly we bring a creative midfielder who can also graft
    Blood some youth players

  37. Mr C says:

    Prasac- point taken. However no-one should ever be above criticism, even SAF, as the club is bigger than anyone even him. In order to move forward that has to be the case. I do not believe Barca can’t be caught. All this ‘best team ever ‘ stuff is media bollocks . I’ve been following United and football generally since the late 1960′s. The greatest Club ever is Manchester United. Second or third take your pick between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. The greatest team ever? Take you pick. United? Ajax? AC Milan? Real Madrid? Perhaps, but not this Barca lot. They are the best organised and most effective at this point in time maybe and so that’s the challenge. If you ever had the privilege of seeing George Best in his pomp play live then you will appreciate that while Messi is great but aint even close…

    But to back matters in hand. Fergie’s an effective manager and is loyal to his players. Too loyal in some cases on the back of some of yesterday’s performances. But SAF cocked up with his strategy and subs yesterday. Berbatov is world class and should have been – and deserved to be – on the bench at minimum – period. Instead Fergie set up the team to ‘nick’ a result without any real prospect of changing strategy or shape as needs be, hence he plumped for Owen. We showed Barca too much respect – our attitude in the first few mins when we went at them should have been the way forward. I don’t mind losing to a better side but don’t like the ‘could have done better’ feeling. That’s not to criticize the players either the majority of whom put in a decent shift.

  38. Red Devil says:

    I think an Italian style Catenaccio is the only way to stop them….man mark all their effective players like Xavi, Iniesta and Messi…players like Gentile and Nobby Stiles…..a system of systematic fouling and get two or three world class players who can get you an individualistic goal from a piece of magic….

    And before all of you jump on me for being negative….We did exactly that in the 2008 semi-finals…Our games against Barca were two of the most boring games I have ever seen, but we got what we wanted due to a piece of indiviual brilliance from the Ginger Ninja…Mark my words, it will only be an Italian team who eventually stops them or a coach with a Ph.D in Italian tactics..

  39. YM says:

    GUTTED!!

    COULD NOT SLEEP A WINK LAST NIGHT.

  40. swede says:

    We have won the European Cup once and CL twice and so in total 3 titles. Barca never won the old European Cup and have won 4 CL.
    This is answer to the person above that cannot keep things apart. To me the European Cup and CL is the same thing as it is the same trophy. Many yesterday in media said we have won 2 as they seem to only count CL-victories.

  41. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 1:46: “just going out and buying a few of the best MFs available, won’t necessarily solve the “problem” of how to beat Barcelona.”

    On reflection, I think that this is correct. The “problem” Barcelona pose is that – as others have said – they play the game in a different key. So, without pointing fingers at Rio/Vidic, who both played well yesterday, a pair of large central defenders isn’t necessarily needed. Similarly, two “fullbacks” – in the traditional deployment of a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 – aren’t necessarily needed. BUT three central midfielders are necessarily needed. Barcelona’s passing game – and their fluid interchanging of positions on the field – pulls apart defenders-without-concentration (they focussed on Patrice Evra’s tendency to go walkabot and all three goals came from his (left) defensive zone). Similarly, Messi’s second goal was a result of finding a huge “pocket of space” in which he had freedom to pick out his spot and use one of the stationary defenders to shield his intentions from Edwin. Something like that happened on the third goal, too, but it was less the result of “planning” as opposed to “opportunity”.

    So, what’s the lesson here. First, the central defensive axis needs to keep its shape; second, the wide defenders – I really don’t care what you call them (“fullbacks” or “wingers”) need to deny space on the inside by pushing Alves and/or Abidal wide, wide, wide – letting them cut inside is catastrophic; third, it’s just suicidal to let Messi cut inside from the right with the ball on his left foot; and, fourth, the keeper and defenders can’t just lump the ball forward in the hope that one of our team will get it (this is always a stupid strategy). AND there’s a fifth issue/lesson to be gained from this shit-kicking TheLads absorbed – Barcelona play the game their way and it won’t work if you try to defend against them as if they play the game the usual way.

    The end-result of my thinking about these matters is that SAF got his strategy wrong – or else his players didn’t follow his instruction. Or some combination of both, which is really quite depressing to contemplate. Hopefully, the next time we are lined up against Barcelona there will be some evidence that lessons have been learned and a new, different approach is tried.

    Anyhow, winning # 19 is still sweet and getting to the CL final for the third time in four years was a great accomplishment. Next season is only ten or eleven weeks away – and the transfer window opens soon.

    Take a deep breath and prepare for another roller-coaster ride. ‘cos it’s entertainment and if it ain’t fun then it’s shite.

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