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Post Barca Player Rection – Tactically Spot On?

United players BarcelonaCristiano Ronaldo

“Well it was a tough game,” he said. “They keep the ball a lot I think we defended well, we play well and you know 0-0 away is a good result. I didn’t score – no problem. But now I will score in Manchester. 0-0 is a good result now we play at home and I think we are going to win. They kept the ball a lot but they didn’t create great chances we created more chances than Barcelona. 0-0 is a good result if we scored a goal it is better for us. We didn’t score but 0-0 is good.”

Rio Ferdinand

“We are fairly happy, satisfied with the result,” he said. “To come here and not concede was the first objective we done that. We felt we were capable of nicking a goal. We had a penalty but they don’t always go in and you just have got to be able adjust from that disappointment and go on from there though and we done that well. They controlled large parts of the game but we kind of dealt with what they had to offer in the end which was good.”

Michael Carrick

“We had a game-plan and tactically I think we got it spot on,” he said. “Everyone put in a good shift and we looked very solid as a team. On another day we might have nicked it. We had a penalty and had a couple of decent chances. If one of them had gone in it would have been the perfect night for us, but as it is we’ve got a clean sheet and we couldn’t be happier with that. But we know if we win at home we’re through and that’s a great incentive.”

Patrice Evra

“I think I’m just disappointed about the goal,” he said. “We haven’t scored the away goal but tactically it was fantastic. I think the defence played very well. We stopped many attacks.”

Edwin Van der Sar

“It was a fairly easy evening,” he said. “For the first-half we had no problems, after the break Barcelona gave us a few dangerous moments: a free chance for Thierry Henry and a shot from Samuel Eto’o. To get a 0-0 is simply a good outcome.”

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. Stephen says:

    Poor performance on the whole, over tactical players playing completely out of postion just not the United way,

    I would have loved us to play Rooney thru the middle, Ronnie out wide, Anderson in for Tevez (where was he playing by the way) play high tempo football.

    Their centre backs would of hated Rooney;s physical approach, but we catered around stopping them play, which is not us.

  2. RedRedBaby says:

    everyone is saying barcelona was playing better after the match , barca always played vs any team at home like that , they controlled the ball but again no end product , that has been the case for them for the past few months. thinking that they did good is our gain. because if we can have half of what they had of the ball we will score more than once at home.

  3. UnitedRay says:

    This is not the united i love and support. But if this means we can again be crowned champions of europe then so be it!

  4. 261 says:

    Stupid starting XI from SAF. If he was playing for a tactically defensive game, why play both Tevez and Rooney? Why not just put Anderson into a 3-man central mid? We simply had no pieces in the centre of the board, and thus no control over the game. We all — including SAF — know Rooney can’t play on the wing; so why play him there? I won’t criticize SAF, but I will stand by my contention that he had a stroke the night before…

  5. Salford Red says:

    Naturally delighted with the result, but very disappointed with the performance. Completely understand the need to deny opponents space, especially in wide areas, with Barca’s favoured attacking option coming from overlapping fullbacks on the wing. But cannot for the life of me see how playing one up front, with Park- who for all his endevour is surely one of the slowest United players in modern history- as often our second most advanced attacking option, thus meaning that on the rare occasions Ronnie broke the line support was too slow in coming or more simply, due to park’s and Wazza inablity to hold up play, the ball constantly came straight back into our half, can be construed as a sound defensive strategy and performance. Surely utilizing our naturally wide men like Nani to force the Barca fulll backs to defend, and playing Rooney and Ronnie through the middle to pressure a Barca back four that looked suspect to say the least would have been a better strategy. Both in terms of scoring the invaluble away goal and keeping the ball in Barca’s half as opposed to constantly in and around our defensive area. Our back five were superb last night. But the more the pressure is soaked on a defense, because we haven’t got enough numbers upfront to maintain possesion in the opponents half, the more likely a mistake is going to be made. Last night we survived. Thank fuck.
    I’ve never been that confident of our chances of winning the Champions league, primarily due to Fergie’s insistence in playing the 4-5-1 formation. Surely any idea regards organising a formation on the pitch must be subject to empirical evidence. In other words are our results better when we use this system than when we don’t. One look at our away record in Europe in recent years, when we always play the 4-5-1, as opposed to when we adopted a 4-4-2 shos that the 4-5-1 does NOT WORK.

  6. wambetsa eugene philip says:

    That was a spectacular perfomance for united.They(barcelona) kept the ball but never scored.That shows how hard united is to crack.

  7. fiurenzu says:

    i think Sir Ferguson has tempted a new tactical and it was the good moment to do it. in OT, we know that MU will win the game, and in Camp Nou there was the best moment to tempt it. the Man Utd team of this game has played well, without defensive problem but without the strike and the envy of usually games… we must wait 6 days to see if there was the best thing to do

  8. Anant says:

    please play rooney thru the middle and drop park or else we suffer big time . we were absolutely nil going forward last night .
    oh , and do not give the ball to barca . they will make sure we dont see it for a long period .

  9. austin reynolds says:

    was not the best game to watch last night but ive certainly been, and expected to be last night, more worried whilst watching a game.
    anyone who thinks we were favourites to win last night at their ground is deluded. regardless of what formation or team we sent out.
    if u limit barca to 1 REAL chance at home uv done well.
    not many teams go there and play them off the park, just as the reverse will apply at old trafford.
    we,l be favourites to go through now, tho having not scored, its going to be a nervy night, just the way we always do it! ;)
    as for people still crying about 451, who were the last good team in any country to play 442 and win anything major?
    move on, the game has and so must our players and fans. as for the guy who says stats prove 442 is better, then why are we unbeaten this season in the champions league?

  10. Stephen says:

    mmmm not not sure about a spectacular performance….

  11. John says:

    we were awful last night. barca played us off the park like we did to liverpool in OT. big improvement needed as they will maybe nick a goal.

  12. NC says:

    Question for you diehard Man Utd fans – iread another blog last week which gave the top 200 best paid players in europe, by weekly wages. It said that louis saha was on 90k p/w.

    Is this true??

    What happened to Utd’s old wage structure, is it still in place but just higher?

  13. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    The media are so focused on Grant that all of Chelsea’s bad results are blamed on him. It’s the same with United’s tactics in Europe. If something doesn’t work out for United, all the focus is on the tactic. How about Rooney, Tevez and Park looking uncomfortable in possession? How about Carrick not spreading the ball around with his natural composure?
    United as a team defended very deep and rarely did Barca manage to get sight on goal inside the area which is why most of their shots were from outside the box. Great defensively for sure.
    But I personally would have put Nani and Anderson on a bit earlier in the second half to add the energy and speed Park and Tevez weren’t providing on the night.
    Decent result though and whatever people say about Ronaldo not rising to the big occasion and Rooney being overrated, United go into the second leg needing a win at home which they have managed in the last 11 home matches.

  14. Tom F says:

    NC – I can’t remember the last time we had a proper wage structure, or one that the public knew about.

    Years ago it used to be 50k a week but Keane signed a deal which broke that by a few thousand a week. Since then wages and prices of players have gone way over the top and although it’s almost 10 years ago and you’d never expect top players to be on 50k but it rises so fast that it’s hard to keep control of. I remember the likes of Beckham being on 65k just after that and read that he was offered even more.

    There must be some sort of structure, but the club doesn’t talk about it that much.

  15. Tom F says:

    I was fairly pleased with the result and only once during the game winced as a shot from Eto’o hit the side netting. We looked very comfortable without the ball. I know Barcelona had possession that we should never have allowed them, but on a pitch so huge I imagine a lot of home sides would be in a similar position. Note: I mean teams like Arsenal, United and other passing sides.. not Derby!

    I was very suprised by the team Fergie put out, Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo had me QUITE excited before kick off.. I didn’t expect them all to defend as much as they did but although a score draw is far better Barcelona not scoring is also decent..

    As OMelhorDoMundo points out, we have just broken a record in the Champions League of 10 home wins in a row.. we’re on 11 and if we win our 12th we are through.

    More importantly… we play Chelski tomorrow!

  16. Raisnhell says:

    Stop talkin to the fuckin press will ya?! Starting playing and talk with your feet on the pitch!!

  17. k9 says:

    A superb game of thrust and parry. Really enjoyed it.


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