Rooney: SAF got his tactics wrong against Barcelona

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P-Ro

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He's got a point.
 

Zen86

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That's the joke.
It’s a strange one, as it’s not like we’d never employed any other tactics. We had our fair share of sitting back and roughing up opponents over the years when we needed to.
 

Zoo

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The 2011 side was in decline and not the second best in Europe. We had godo momentum playing the way we did the back of end if that season so SAF stuck with it, truth is any tactic we used that day wouldn’t have helped as they were far superior. 2009 was a bad night sure but it’s easy to say with the benefit of hindsight.

I think Rooney still holds a grudge against SAF and am not impressed with these underhand digs, like when he said Van Gaal was the best manager he played for.
 

drmuji

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It’s a strange one, as it’s not like we’d never employed any other tactics. We had our fair share of sitting back and roughing up opponents over the years when we needed to.
Yes. That is true. And all of us have seen Fergie parking the bus as well. And many smash and grabs.

I think Rooney is wrong there. Sir Alex can't be this naive to not know that we are doing is suicidal. To be honest, I really think he knew, man for man Barca is much better than us (and to be fair, they were). They had a team of generation so Fergie might be thinking, "what the hell, lets enjoy football". Its better to lose while playing attacking and positive rather than lose while not even playing football.
That's why a lot of people think United achievement of third this season is better than Mourinho's achievement of 2nd couple of seasons ago
 

Brophs

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I have a vague memory of Fergie giving Rooney a bollocking on the touchline during an injury break or something during the 2011 game and the speculation was that it was because he wasn’t following instructions.
 

PeteManic

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In 2009, the team just didn't show up on the night so it wouldn't have mattered what way they played.

In 2011, Barcelona were one of the best club sides ever so it wouldn't have mattered what way they played.
 

nokillingmoths

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In 2009, the team just didn't show up on the night so it wouldn't have mattered what way they played.

In 2011, Barcelona were one of the best club sides ever so it wouldn't have mattered what way they played.
Always felt fletcher being suspended hurt us in 2009.
 

Classical Mechanic

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The 2011 side was in decline and not the second best in Europe. We had godo momentum playing the way we did the back of end if that season so SAF stuck with it, truth is any tactic we used that day wouldn’t have helped as they were far superior. 2009 was a bad night sure but it’s easy to say with the benefit of hindsight.

I think Rooney still holds a grudge against SAF and am not impressed with these underhand digs, like when he said Van Gaal was the best manager he played for.
In 2011 we had an absolute gift of a draw. We had Valencia, Rangers and Buraspor in the group and the Marseille, Chelsea and Shalke on route to the final. Probably one of the easiest runs to the final ever.

That game was painful to watch especially towards the end.
It was. I knew before the match that we were going to get destroyed. I literally had no faith in us winning the game. Fergie looked distraught on the sidelines. I think the truth was that the rot was starting to set in. Apart from RVP after that we didn't replace any of the top players that were part of the great noughties side.
 

horsechoker

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The 2011 side was in decline and not the second best in Europe. We had godo momentum playing the way we did the back of end if that season so SAF stuck with it, truth is any tactic we used that day wouldn’t have helped as they were far superior. 2009 was a bad night sure but it’s easy to say with the benefit of hindsight.

I think Rooney still holds a grudge against SAF and am not impressed with these underhand digs, like when he said Van Gaal was the best manager he played for.
Did he say that? I'm not surprised. Van Gaal blew smoke up his arse when he was in decline.
 

charlenefan

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Did he say that? I'm not surprised. Van Gaal blew smoke up his arse when he was in decline.
Pretty sure he called LVG the best coach he'd worked under or at least that's how I read it
 

matsdf

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SAF even said this himself in one of his books didn't he? That he was too naive.
 

Eire Red United

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I have a vague memory of Fergie giving Rooney a bollocking on the touchline during an injury break or something during the 2011 game and the speculation was that it was because he wasn’t following instructions.
He was only player that turned up for us that night the rest were woeful
 

Red00012

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If we had 12 players out in 2011 we wouldn’t have beaten that Barca side.
 

Yagami

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I recall Rio saying something similar, but I think we'd have probably lost both games anyway...
2011, probably. Even if we had played Berbatov, Nani and Anderson, which I think we should've.

We could've won in 2009, though. That was a great squad. I wish we would've stuck with Tevez with Rooney and Ronaldo that season.
 

norm87cro

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A lot of post generals around here I see. Fergie was a great manager but he was also human. Personally I think the Nani red hurt him more than the both finals and lets not forget holy Pep is yet to win a CL after his two at Barca 10 years ago. Barca managed one without him but he hasn't done the same.
 

Berbasbullet

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The 2011 side was in decline and not the second best in Europe. We had godo momentum playing the way we did the back of end if that season so SAF stuck with it, truth is any tactic we used that day wouldn’t have helped as they were far superior. 2009 was a bad night sure but it’s easy to say with the benefit of hindsight.

I think Rooney still holds a grudge against SAF and am not impressed with these underhand digs, like when he said Van Gaal was the best manager he played for.
Thing is, we played mini Barca (Arsenal at the time) the same way and got battered.

Was a weird decision.
 
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Adam-Utd

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Honestly I think we just had no idea how to play against them at that point.

Nobody in England played that style of football, the closest was probably Arsenal but we always beat them fairly comfortably.

Barca were just a different animal, i'm sure if Fergie had his time again he'd have gone 4-3-3, but tbh sitting deep and containing them wasn't exactly any better either.

They knew exactly how to play around that style of football. They were just unplayable for 2-3 years unfortunately.
 

Falcow

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I remember Ronaldo walking off the pitch after the 09 final shaking his head into the camera muttering something about getting tactics wrong.

I think we got both tactics and team selection wrong in both games. As soon as I saw little pea in the starting line up I knew the game was lost. Leaving Tevez out in 09 was also a blunder but like the poster above I've always thought Fletcher being suspended that night was a huge loss, him and Tevez in the side and we would have put up a much better fight. A fit Heargraves in 09 would also have helped.
 

Havak

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2011, probably. Even if we had played Berbatov, Nani and Anderson, which I think we should've.

We could've won in 2009, though. That was a great squad. I wish we would've stuck with Tevez with Rooney and Ronaldo that season.
Yeah, 2009 had a much bigger chance for sure. At the time, I thought we were the only team in Europe that could feasibly beat that Barcelona side in a big game. However, after the game I felt very deflated and was sure I'd seen the best club side. It was the same feeling I had when Jose first came to England and that Chelsea side dominated their way to two Premier League titles. SAF just came up against peak Jose and peak Pep at those particular periods and as great as he was and managed to adapt eventually, I don't think he knew the best way to approach them at first. Gary Neville said it was the first time he thought Sir Alex needed to take a back step when Jose first came and figure things out. I think that Barca side was sadly similar in the Europe.

Also as an above poster said, no Fletcher, Hargreaves, Tevez (bench) in 2009, even Scholes probably should have started too.
 

Ibi Dreams

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I think it was an attempt to catch them by surprise which unfortunately didn't work out. As others have said, parking the bus against them wasn't usually effective either. I seem to remember in one of the finals (2011?) we actually started the game well and pressed them and played in their half, but they got control after about 10 minutes. I think maybe Fergie was trying to throw everything at them to begin with just to try and get an advantage in the game
 

OleBoiii

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With Fletcher, the right tactics and maybe a little luck, we definitely could have won in 2009.

2011? No chance. We peaked in 2008. In 2011 we were essentially trying to rebuild the team.
 

Number32

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In 2009, the team just didn't show up on the night so it wouldn't have mattered what way they played.

In 2011, Barcelona were one of the best club sides ever so it wouldn't have mattered what way they played.
In 2009 we missed Fletcher and Hargreeves, had gambled to start Anderson and Giggs as CM.
This was no match to Barca's amazing CM (Sergio, Xavi, Inniesta).

If we wanted to play counter attacking football, should had played Park or Scholes or O'shea at CM and let the trio Ronaldo-Tevez-Ronaldo in front like in 2008 final.

In 2011, I agree, but should had learn from Mourinho how to beat Barca. Why we still played 2 strikers? just because we played in england didn't mean we had home advantage.
 

LawCharltonBest

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Sir Alex says this exact same thing in his Autobiography

Says he didn't want to go against Manchester United and wanted to attack, but on reflection wishes he'd played more defensive and tried to hit them on the counter.
 

stevoc

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And Solskjær has won it!
He’s got a point but Ferguson knew exactly what he was doing going into that final. In the build up there had been a lot of talk about how United would approach the game. I remember Bobby Charlton commentating on it and saying United have to play attacking football in a final.

Ferguson was asked about it in one of the press conferences and I’m paraphrasing here but he said something along the lines of they know which tactics had been successful against that Barca side (10 men behind the ball). But that no Man Utd side of his would ever play that way in a final. Think he reiterated this in his last book.

So yeah our tactics weren’t the best for the opponent that night but the decision was ideological.

We could have parked the bus and most likely probably would have still lost anyway, that 2011 Barca is the best team I’ve ever seen.
 

predator

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Im not sure about the 09 final, we just didn't look right despite starting well iirc.

The 11 final was just a gulf in class to be brutally honest and no matter what tactics were deployed, we were playing against one of if not the best club side ever, and Messi.
 

crossy1686

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That Barcelona side were unbeatable, especially considering we never really believed we could beat them. Until we believed we could there was no way we actually would.

It's also easy for Rooney to say this in hindsight. I'm sure if we'd have sat back and got battered 4-0 the narrative would have been "If we'd just attacked them we could have put them on the back foot and got something out of the game..."
 

King7Eric

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In 2009, had Fletcher and Hargreaves been available, things might have been different. At that point our team was more or less as strong as Barca. In 2011, we really had no chance going toe to toe with them. SAF himself mentioned in one of his books that after the 2011 final, he swore if we ever played Barca again, he'd simply stick Jones or Smalling on Messi and not care about trying to win the "Man Utd" way. He himself admitted he got it wrong tactically so Rooney isn't saying anything groundbreaking here.
 

NotoriousISSY

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2009 was understandable to some extent. Most people were shocked at how easily they won.

2011 less so, given we had a lesson in 2009 and we went into that final with a MASSIVELY inferior team.
 

Womp

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Playing Valencia over Nani was also a bad choice imo. I remember thinking how dangerous Nani looked against them when he came on.
 

izec

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Hindsight and all that. We could have gone more defensive, and would have lost as well. People and players would then say we are United and should throw the game at them and attack etc...

2009 was more in it, but we lacked the cutting edge and the team didn't show up. Some missing potential key players and tactics could have been different, but we were just poor that night. 2011 we were without a chance. Could have parked the bus but they would have scored most likely with some magic and then dominated until the end anyway.
 

kps88

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It’s a strange one, as it’s not like we’d never employed any other tactics. We had our fair share of sitting back and roughing up opponents over the years when we needed to.
I think the fact that it was a big final made a difference. SAF didn't want us to play that way with the world watching. But I'm surprised we didn't learn our lesson after the first time.