Rooney: SAF got his tactics wrong against Barcelona

Suedesi

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They were clearly much better in 2011 - it doesn't really matter how we setup, they still would have won.

Maybe different tactics could yielded a different result in 2009, but that's all hindsight.

At the time, Barca were missing several starters including Dani Alves, Abidal, Marquez and I think Iniesta was not 100%.
Plus we were the reigning champions, it would have been weird to have parked the bus in those circumstances.
 
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Morpheus 7

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If's buts candy and nuts, feck up Rooney. You could've parked the bus and tried the counter and long ball, win one of ten against that Barca if we were lucky. Prime Messi, Iniesta, Xavi ect... Pep had them doped up in the second game, the magic doctor helps too. United were way off that level, everyone was. You have to hold your hands up sometimes, they were just a great team. No excuses, we created little in both games. Bad luck we peaked at the same time as them.
 

choiboyx012

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I think Mourinho could have won us both finals. He thrives massively on the underdog tag and a specialist in cup final. SAF's tactics were indeed too naive, thinking we could go toe to toe with one of the greatest club side in history. Looking at that Barca team and now is quite sad to see.
After losing the second final i thought similar. Probably not both but i think mourinho would have won us 1 of those finals.
 

Eddy_JukeZ

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Jose had a better team in Real in 2011 and still lost in the Champions League. The idea that he could win with a weaker United side is fantasy.

2009 is more of an argument, but Fergie himself outsmarted Jose in the CL campaign that season.
 

ti vu

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Jose had a better team in Real in 2011 and still lost in the Champions League. The idea that he could win with a weaker United side is fantasy.

2009 is more of an argument, but Fergie himself outsmarted Jose in the CL campaign that season.
2009, we had better team compare to Inter. In player quality as well as mental strength. Inter Milan those years prior to their triumph the following season was similar to Arsenal in a sense that they looked quality on paper, but mentality they would defeat themselves before heading into game. Nobody really think that Inter was a serious contender. Tactically wise I don't see such tactical superiority like the one in 2013 vs Mourinho Madrid (we had weaker team, but was the better team just to lose due to a controversial decision that change the flow of the game). More like in 2009 we're just too good for them. Even when they tried their best, there was this gap that they couldn't overcome. We wanted the draw in away leg, we got it. We needed a victory, we got it; but they had their chances. If they had our players, or the better players, it would be a trouble for us. Zlatan pre Barcelona was not same player mentality wise. It's well documented that he changed for the better after his Barcelona spell. Getting more matured, and collected.

Only 2010 Inter was about our post Ronaldo level. They added that extra mental toughness just enough to hold themselves through the season. Performance wise, even that Inter team ain't smooth sailer. Plenty or bumpy part during their campaign. Our 2009 team showed that we had better control of the situation bar that night in Rome, hence such disappointment even when we talked about it now.
 
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rollingstoned1

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I remember going to the Barcelona semi-final when we beat them 1-0 at OT (and eventually went through to the final after a 0-0 at the Camp Nou). We barely left our own penalty area in the two games! I think Scholes' 25-yard winner was the only sniff of a chance we even got! Backs-to-the-wall as it was, had we played this way in the two finals, I strongly believe we would have won one of them
ronaldo missed a penalty in that first leg. other than that we were camped in our own third of the pitch and even got criticized for it i remember.
 

RedRonaldo

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Then why Barcelona couldn't win CL back to back? They could still lose other teams. Evidently Hiddink's Chelsea was minutes/seconds to eliminate them. Even that required a special moment, and plenty of questionable referee calls.

Guess which team dominated PL over that Chelsea during that period? So why Chelsea could push Barcelona in the same year to that extend, but we looked like we didn't show up? Tactic.
There are teams which are very good at parking the bus, playing negative football for a result. We were never good at that. To beat Barca, we have to play to our strengths. Teams that are beating Barca, other than luck factor, are playing to their strength too. (For example, Inter and Chelsea, managed by Mourinho back then, were very very good at negative/defensive football). If we sit back and let them played, the result could even go worst, as we were never good at sitting back.

Sure we can still park the bus and losing merely by 1 goals or something. But we never had a chance to beat them.
 

ti vu

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There are teams which are very good at parking the bus, playing negative football for a result. We were never good at that. To beat Barca, we have to play to our strengths. Teams that are beating Barca, other than luck factor, are playing to their strength too. (they are good at defensive football).

Sure we can still park the bus and losing merely by 1 goals or something. But we never had a chance to beat them.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/matchstats?gameId=239745
https://www.espn.com/soccer/matchstats?gameId=239781

Pre Pep Barcelona, 07-08 semi finals 27% to 73% and 38% to 62% in possession!

As others already pointed out, in both legs, we were not shy to play to our strength at the time which was soaking pressure and counter attacking. Gary Neville whether he is alive or dead to you, mentioned Queiroz important defensive tactical work against Barcelona, in one of his book. Why ain't we hearing about how fantastic our attack plan was, but specifically defensive one instead? Queiroz is well known for his pragmatic approach to tactic.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/24/carlos-quieroz-iran-world-cup

If we're never good at "that", I'd love to hear your tactical explanation for the gameplan for these 2 games. What happened that the following season, we're so much better as attacking team, that going toe to toe vs a much improved Barcelona led by Pep was better idea, when our former players shared same sentiment that Queiroz defensive coaching and tactic was right, and skeptical about our approach in 2009?


https://www.espn.com/soccer/matchstats?gameId=266961

2009 final 48% to 52% possession.

Clearly we had an intention to go toe to toe despite the opposition had much improved. This same opposition then was known for their dominance in such type of football.

Edit: Evra echoed what Gary Neville said

'Honestly, Carlos Queiroz was very important for the squad because he knew very well the tactics,' says Evra, a beneficiary of Queiroz's ability with the French language and his daily defensive coaching.

'I remember the semi-final against Barcelona away when he was speaking with everybody before the second half. The tactic was to have the team very compact and to let Barcelona play with the ball. He said possession didn't matter. "Stay compact and when you win the ball go forward as quickly as possible." I was feeling the team very strong at Barcelona, and I think this was the work of Carlos Queiroz. Tactically he brought something important to Man United."

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2008/oct/19/manchesterunited
 
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Dante

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Inferior teams beat superior teams in cup games all the time. It requires a bit of luck as well as getting the tactics right.

United were going to lose 95 times out of 100 with the wrong tactics. But we could have made it 70 times out of 100 with the right tactics.

The fact Fergie got it wrong doesn't make him a bad manager. And the fact Barcelona had a better team didn't mean it was an impossible task.

There's nothing wrong with what Rooney said. Rio and SAF himself have echoed the same regrets.
 

Judge Red

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ITV just reuploaded this for some reason. Keane is the clickbait but Evra says the team was never the same tactically after Queiroz left in 2008.

 

Jim Beam

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It is a bit strange indeed as we ripped Arsenal apart so many times waiting for them on the counter just to go with a high press and attack Barcelona in 2009 final. Don't think it is the wrong tactics against them (Pep's team often struggle against the well-executed high press), but we didn't played like that often in big games and we probably didn't have the right kind of players to do it. Also, ironically, Rooney was particularly horrendous and had one of those games where he couldn't hold the ball, let alone have any kind of impact (would have a solid case for being voted as the worst player on the field). That, along with our midfield chasing shadows decided the game.

In 2011, we were lucky to even be in the final with that team. Wouldn't matter what tactics we employed, although going 4-4-2 was suicidal indeed. Rooney was probably our best player in this one, though.
 

Lay

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2nd leg I think? But yeah...agree
Nah it was 1st leg at the Nou Camp.

That match vs Barcelona isn’t the best example though as that was a mediocre Barcelona and not the machine we faced in 2009 and 2011.
 

davidmichael

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I don’t think tactics mattered and it was simply a case of Barca were better than us, it’s arguable they were better than us in 2008 when we beat them in the semi’s as well but that Scholes wonder strike and an unreal defensive performance saw us through.

2009 maybe it was the wrong decision to shift Rooney out wide and play Ronaldo up top but that Barca team of 2009-2011 is up there with Real of the 50’s, Ajax and Bayern of the 70’s and AC Milan of the late 80’s to mid 90’s as the greatest club side of all time and some believe THE greatest club side ever so being only behind them over a 3-5 year period is far from a disservice to us.
 

cyril C

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Well, he would have parked the bus and even then we would have lost
Yes this is true x2. I think what Rooney meant was, putting aside the agenda, some players knew right away that they would surely lose with an open play, but had they park the bus, they might get lucky.

Would fans prefer 80% chance of losing it Utd way, or winning (60%) it ugly
 

Amir

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We were always likely to lose the 2011 final. With the way we set up, likely became inevitable. Rooney's right.

I actually had some confidence going into the final because I was certain there's no way we wouldn't learn anything from the 2009 final. Shockingly, we didn't.
 

RedRonaldo

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https://www.espn.com/soccer/matchstats?gameId=239745
https://www.espn.com/soccer/matchstats?gameId=239781

Pre Pep Barcelona, 07-08 semi finals 27% to 73% and 38% to 62% in possession!

As others already pointed out, in both legs, we were not shy to play to our strength at the time which was soaking pressure and counter attacking. Gary Neville whether he is alive or dead to you, mentioned Queiroz important defensive tactical work against Barcelona, in one of his book. Why ain't we hearing about how fantastic our attack plan was, but specifically defensive one instead? Queiroz is well known for his pragmatic approach to tactic.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/24/carlos-quieroz-iran-world-cup

If we're never good at "that", I'd love to hear your tactical explanation for the gameplan for these 2 games. What happened that the following season, we're so much better as attacking team, that going toe to toe vs a much improved Barcelona led by Pep was better idea, when our former players shared same sentiment that Queiroz defensive coaching and tactic was right, and skeptical about our approach in 2009?


https://www.espn.com/soccer/matchstats?gameId=266961

2009 final 48% to 52% possession.

Clearly we had an intention to go toe to toe despite the opposition had much improved. This same opposition then was known for their dominance in such type of football.

Edit: Evra echoed what Gary Neville said

'Honestly, Carlos Queiroz was very important for the squad because he knew very well the tactics,' says Evra, a beneficiary of Queiroz's ability with the French language and his daily defensive coaching.

'I remember the semi-final against Barcelona away when he was speaking with everybody before the second half. The tactic was to have the team very compact and to let Barcelona play with the ball. He said possession didn't matter. "Stay compact and when you win the ball go forward as quickly as possible." I was feeling the team very strong at Barcelona, and I think this was the work of Carlos Queiroz. Tactically he brought something important to Man United."

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2008/oct/19/manchesterunited
Well if we got all our tactics right in every single game, in theory we could have win a few more CL over last decade, this applies to every other top teams as well.
Truth is, Barcelona is simply better team than us, whether our tactics are right or wrong.
 

el3mel

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Jose had a better team in Real in 2011 and still lost in the Champions League. The idea that he could win with a weaker United side is fantasy.

2009 is more of an argument, but Fergie himself outsmarted Jose in the CL campaign that season.
The United team in 2009 was a much, much better one than Inter. We were best or second best team in the world while Inter overhauled the squad the following swimmer and rebuilt the treble winning one. I think we had a decent chance in 2009 but we flopped. Barca were great in this year but they could have gone out against Chelsea so they weren't totally invincible. We weirdly flopped it and that's why I have bigger regrets over this than the 2011 win. I even have bigger regrets over our 2010 exit than than the 2011 final and it still hurts me to this day.

As for Madrid, I think their team of 2012 under Mourinho should have won won the CL. They lost it out of complete luck that's all. Ramos, Kaka and Ronaldo all missing PKs against Bayern in semis final was absolutely ridiculous. It really proves that CL depends on luck a lot after all. In 2011 they got outscholed by a better Barca, who outscholed us too. There was no one defeating Barca this year that's I'm sure about. people who thought we could have made a hit and run game need to RE watch the second half if they can endure watching us getting embarrassed in our own box again. As I said previously, 2011 was a poor side that lucked its way to the final.
 

ti vu

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Well if we got all our tactics right in every single game, in theory we could have win a few more CL over last decade, this applies to every other top teams as well.
Truth is, Barcelona is simply better team than us, whether our tactics are right or wrong.
Barcelona is better perhaps, doesn't mean we couldn't stand a chance; nor "we were never good at sitting back" (your point).

Tactic was wrong for 2009 final. Rooney was not the only one felt that way. So if it's not like there was no good example how to play against them in same year. Hiddink Chelsea was few minutes/ seconds to eliminate this Barcelona. Tactic does matter. SAF underestimated Barcelona thus chose the wrong tactic.
 

Sandikan

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Incredible revelation from Rooney.

What next? Moyes was a bad choice of successor to Fergie?
Rooney wasn't quite as good in his last couple of years as he was at the start of his United spell?
 

RedRonaldo

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Barcelona is better perhaps, doesn't mean we couldn't stand a chance; nor "we were never good at sitting back" (your point).

Tactic was wrong for 2009 final. Rooney was not the only one felt that way. So if it's not like there was no good example how to play against them in same year. Hiddink Chelsea was few minutes/ seconds to eliminate this Barcelona. Tactic does matter. SAF underestimated Barcelona thus chose the wrong tactic.
Whatever, even if we got our tactics right, doesn't mean we will win the game anyway. Its just 1 or 2 games, out of 600-700 games we've played over past decade. No team can always get their tactics right in every single one of them.
 

DoomSlayer

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All you slating Rooney, for stating the reality, are a bunch of twats. Know your history before spouting bollocks.
 
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Some of you guys have really good memories, I honestly don’t remember much about 2009 final I remember we wore our white kit, i think Carrick was at fault for one of the goals and Ronaldo shaking his head and looking really pissed off at the final whistle. Where can I watch the full match again?
 

ti vu

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Whatever, even if we got our tactics right, doesn't mean we will win the game anyway. Its just 1 or 2 games, out of 600-700 games we've played over past decade. No team can always get their tactics right in every single one of them.
It's a CL final. SAF could only managed 4. SAF also himself admitted he wanted to win more CL. It's not one of those games dead rubber games where nobody gives a shit. 2009 final is well known feeling not just among fans, but one former players that we could have done better.

One game away from making history back then for being the first team able to defend the CL title. We had a team that can do the job. A team that may be the best in our history for the time being. Didn't have the tactic right definitely mentally scarred many. Good for you, not being one of those.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/f...s-depression-Champions-League-final-2009.html

Carrick was so depressed over that. Doesn't sound like the team was Okay to accept the "unavoidable defeat" like you pose it.

'The Boss was understandably angry and had a go at everyone. "You need to have a look at yourselves and see if you can play at this level," he said. Moscow was irrelevant. We were Manchester United and the expectation was relentless.

'"You've let a good chance slip away here," he said. The Boss summed up exactly how I was feeling.
 
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ti vu

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Some of you guys have really good memories, I honestly don’t remember much about 2009 final I remember we wore our white kit, i think Carrick was at fault for one of the goals and Ronaldo shaking his head and looking really pissed off at the final whistle. Where can I watch the full match again?
Dailymotion used to host both halves. Don't know if they're still there.

If you don't mind foreign language commentary, tokyvideo.com still have the game
 

el3mel

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Some of you guys have really good memories, I honestly don’t remember much about 2009 final I remember we wore our white kit, i think Carrick was at fault for one of the goals and Ronaldo shaking his head and looking really pissed off at the final whistle. Where can I watch the full match again?
Why would you want to endure watching these again ? I perfectly remember 2011 final but I wish I forget it even existed.
 

Foxbatt

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We have gone to Anfield and defended for 92 mins and scored a goal in last minute.
Evra was right. I don't think we would have lost the 2009 Final if Carlos was at United.
 

RUCK4444

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All you slating Rooney, for stating the reality, are a bunch of twats. Know your history before spouting bollocks.
You can 'know your history' all you like. This is Manchester United, at the time under one of the most attacking coaches and perhaps the most successful manager in history. There is a 95% chance we still lose that game if we chose to sit back and defend all game - fact.

I for one will always prefer to lose a game whilst trying to win it, rather than lose a game after selling out and trying not to lose (by sitting back and defending all game.)

I have zero respect for any club that sells out and changes their entire approach like that and it rarely works.

If Barcelona can go out and play their own way in a final then I'm fecking sure Manchester United as the defending champions can do so as well... after all, ya know, we have won every trophy in existence by doing precisely that.
 

Dominos

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Jose had a better team in Real in 2011 and still lost in the Champions League. The idea that he could win with a weaker United side is fantasy.

2009 is more of an argument, but Fergie himself outsmarted Jose in the CL campaign that season.
In 2011 they got outscholed by a better Barca, who outscholed us too. There was no one defeating Barca this year that's I'm sure about. people who thought we could have made a hit and run game need to RE watch the second half if they can endure watching us getting embarrassed in our own box again. As I said previously, 2011 was a poor side that lucked its way to the final.
The semi final legs were very tight. Pepe got a red card 0-0 in the 1st leg of the semi and Messi went on to score 2 against 10 men. Madrid then had a goal disallowed at 0-0 in the 2nd leg which finished 1-1.

Madrid beat Barca 1-0 in the copa del rey final that season.

I don't think we had the squad to beat Barca in 2011 though to be honest. We'd have had to have won an ugly, ugly game and we were short in midfield with Hagreaves injured and Fletcher only just returning from illness. I don't think we were particularly electric on the counter attack either that year which is what you need against Barca.

I should say I remember very clearly leading up to the game that at least 90% of the caf wanted us to play the 11 we did in the final and thought they had a real chance, they massively overrated the team based on performances against Chelsea and Schalke. This was the year we won just 5 away games in the league I think, we were regularly getting overrun away from home.
 

Red4Life_#7

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The reason that Fergi played CR as #9, and Rooney behind / part winger, is because CR doesn't help on defending, while Fergi needs everyone supporting. So CR would be the only player without defending responsibility. And you think this is already defensive enough? This is also the tactics that RM (last 2 seasons) and Juventus employed, nothing new here. Parking the bus or not, really depend on what else are employed
I understand what you are saying, but CR developed at RM and Juve in that role, he was our winger at that point and I felt he was isolated in that game.
 

cyril C

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I understand what you are saying, but CR developed at RM and Juve in that role, he was our winger at that point and I felt he was isolated in that game.
There was 1 game, I remember it was the 1/8 or 1/4 against Barca that we beat them. CR played upfront, Rooney as right winger, and at 1 point when we were defending the lead, I recall Rooney tracking back as right back all the way to our corner flag.

i.e. the tactics to deploy CR as #9 was not new, it was used often in key CL games. Fergi tasked Rooney to work for the team all over the pitch .

Whether CR was alone was a separate debate, because we could not dominate MF or failed to provide support to CR, with 5 men in the middle.
 

MVBDX

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That very same Barca in the same period played 4 games against Madrid within 14 days, winning only one of them (1W 2D 1L), and that sole win was thanks to a bullshit red where Pepe didn't touch Alves, who got called out by Rio and others. And this was Mou's first year. He sent Pep packing in the second year.

That Barca were nowhere near unbeatable, the thing is that United were far from second best in Europe, and they had lost Ronaldo and got no one. And Madrid were just trying to get their act together (though they did fairly well, considering the circumstances). Put some of the superior Madrid sides like in 2014, 2017... or that 2015 Barca against them, and this 2011 Barca would find it pretty hard to win.
 
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