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Nani: I Am Ready To Help The Team

Nani turned the game around for Manchester United against Reading after coming on for Phil Jones just before half time. He scored our first goal and then provided a brilliant cross for Chicharito to make it 2-0.

Our Portuguese winger didn’t even make the squad for the Real Madrid game this week but Nani has insisted he is happy to help the team whenever the manager asks him to.

“Everyone is ready to help the team,” said Nani. “I was glad to get an opportunity to come on, I enjoyed the game and helped the team. I scored the first goal and that changed the game and I am pleased to get an assist to help the team to this big win.”

Three days ago, Nani was involved in a car crash with an unmarked police car. Nani escaped the crash unharmed and there was just minor damage to his Bentley Continental.

“It was not a big crash but I’m happy,” he added. “These things happen and I’m just very happy for this beautiful day and will keep working.”

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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  1. Tom says:

    I don’t know guys the San Siri pitch was a shame ..90 mins in camp nou could turn out to be an eternity …keys c how the Milan guys match up than ..right now it’s advantage Milan but I am not writing barca off

  2. StatesideAussie says:

    I don’t think Barca controlled that game against Milan. Sure, they dominated possession of the ball. But that’s not the same thing. It was useless possession because they did fuck all with it. They had 66% of the ball, they could only manage two attempts on target. Milan, with only 34% of the ball, had 6. That’s the story right there.

    Barca don’t have a Plan B. Mourinho was the first to expose that, with his infamous “give the ball to Barca” ploy with Inter. Possibly the most outrageous tactical ploy I’ve seen, because it went way beyond parking the bus. Some say it was as boring as bat-shit, but I don’t know. I sort of enjoyed watching Barca totally befuddled about what to do. Anyway, it worked. Since then, no one has gone to quite that extreme, but several have adopted a more orthodox ploy of sitting deep and hitting Barca on the counter.

    Barca’s Plan A relies on exploiting small gaps in the other team’s positioning. What Mourinho demonstrated was that if the other team lines up in a formation that doesn’t have any significant gaps), and then has the discipline to hold its positions, then Barca are stuck. (And whatever else you might think of him or his tactics, he does deserve the credit for being the first to prove this against Barca.)

    Barca don’t have the width to stretch your wide defenders (nor do they have tall strikers who can capitalise on crosses). If they did have all that, that would represent a viable Plan B. But they don’t.

    Barca are also shackled by their philosophy that possession is the most important thing of all — more important, really, even than goals. I say that because according to this lijne of thinking, if you dominate possession, then the goals will flow from that naturally, whereas if you don’t have possession, they won’t.

    We all know that is true, of course. The trouble comes when you are confronted by tactics that require you to “force the game”. If you can’t tease the other team out of position to create gaps, and you can’t go wide around them either, then the only option is to try to go through them. But without any real gaps, it’s risky: you could well lose the ball. And there’s the rub: because that’s one risk Barca do not like to take.

    But this is the beauty of football. Tactics and strategies are constantly evolving. A couple of seasons ago, tika-taka was widely considered to be the ultimate “style”, the “perfect strategy” that, when executed as well as Barca did it, simply couldn’t be beaten.

    But that was always going to be nonsense. It was only a matter of time before someone would figure out the weaknesses in that approach and how to exploit them. Mourinho started it, others have built upon that.

    And now, I think, Barca are out this year. Even at home, I can’t see them beating Milan by three clear goals.

  3. denton davey says:

    StateSideAussie @ 21:27: “Barca don’t have a Plan B. Mourinho was the first to expose that, with his infamous “give the ball to Barca” ploy with Inter.”

    While I agree with the overall thrust of your argument, I think that the game-plan for playing rope-a-dope against this particular Barcelona team was devised by SAF and worked to perfection in the semi-final of 2008 when TheGingerNinja scored the only goal on a stunning 30-yard volley.

    Milan show great resilience and discipline and their forward options – even without Balotelli – were excellent. I do wonder, though, whether the “pundits” aren’t overlooking the possible role of the junk-yard dog, Nigel De Jong, whose absence has really, really hurt ManShitty.

  4. Lee Martins Winner says:

    @ davey denton

    Great point re de jong…… When city phased him out, then sold him, I was very happy. Underrated player in that holding position and was a big reason for thier def record.

  5. denton davey says:

    Lee Martins Winner @ 22:29:

    I was at first befuddled when Mancini would bring De Jong on in place of an “attacker” but quickly came to realize that that move freed GreatBigHugeYaYa to play in an advanced role and he won them quite a few matches in that way.

    De Jong himself was severely under-rated – a real junk-yard-dog with pretty-damned good on-the-ball skills, too.

  6. Mr C says:

    @StatesideAussie February 21, 2013 at 21:27

    Excellent stuff, very insightful, and . However, tactics aside, I would add there’s another reason why Milan got the jump on Barca the other night. The likes of Messi had simply had a poor game.

    In the end, top class skill and creative quality will almost always win through against lesser opposition. I would suggest that is why Barca don’t have a plan B, as you put it, is that with talent like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi they don’t really need one; players at that level can usually improvise or pull something out of the hat. But when top creative talent like Messi are having an particularly poor game, in addition to the effect of opposition tactics, they Barca like anyone else can get beat.

    I’m not a lover of Barca; I cannot abide that boring tika taki shit (or whatever its called) so just happy the bastards got stuffed.


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