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Man Utd Fail To Show Up Against Barcelona

barcelona man united Man Utd Fail To Show Up Against Barcelona

Manchester United couldn’t have picked a worse night to not show up in one of the most important games since they were founded 131 years ago. The Red Devils were so close to history. Just 90 minutes away from being the first team ever to win two Champions League Finals back-to-back. So close to putting Sir Alex Ferguson is the record books as one of the most successful club managers in the history of the sport.

Except they were outclassed and outplayed by a vastly superior team on the night. Congratulations on a deserved victory must go to Pep Guardiola for guiding his eleven man Barcelona to being crowned champions of Europe.

For Manchester United, this was one of their worst performances in months. Their passing was dreadful (Michael Carrick, especially, was culpable). Carles Puyol owned Cristiano Ronaldo for most of the game, and as soon as the Portuguese wizard cut inside he was  surrounded by two players to block his run — time and time again. Giggs’s corners were dreadful. Rooney and Tevez, although they both tried hard, were ineffective up front. Scholes was his typical self — being a liability with his late tackles. And the marking at the back was poor throughout the match leaving Barcelona players wide open on the edge of the box and, as Lionel Messi showed, open near the back to head the ball past Edwin Van der Sar into the back of the net.

This was a sub-par performance by Manchester United who had difficulty maintaining possession of the ball as Barcelona often knocked the ball around the park. As the game progressed, the life seemed to be sucked out of Manchester United and they appeared despondent in their attempts to pull back a goal to narrow the difference.

There are times when teams don’t show up, and this was such a night in Rome. Not to take anything away from Barcelona, but Manchester United’s second half performance was awful. They just couldn’t seem to do anything right. The closest they came was a ball that bounced over Ji-Sung Park’s head, and a poor header by Berbatov from a corner that flew over the bar late in the game.

Still, despite a disappointing performance by the Red Devils, Manchester United have had an incredible season beginning with the Community Shield Trophy followed by the FIFA Club World Cup Trophy, the Carling Cup victory against Spurs and, of course, the 2008-2009 Premier League trophy.

Now that the season is over for Manchester United, it’s back to the drawing board for Ferguson where he attempts to pull his team back against this summer to rebuild and prepare for another long, and in his hopes, glorious season. Don’t write their chances off too soon of returning to the Champions League Final on May 22, 2010 at the home of Barcelona’s arch-enemy, Real Madrid’s Bernabeau Stadium.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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14 Responses to Man Utd Fail To Show Up Against Barcelona

  1. Robbie says:

    What killed United was the two weeks rest the players recieved. Barca played their first team on the weekend that the Premier League ended which kept the Barca players fresh. Sir Alex should have played the first team against Hull to keep the blood going heading into the final. That was honestly the worst United display I saw all season. As a United supporter, Barca are the best team in the world right now, hands down. Though I do believe United will show the resilience to bounce back. I still think they are odds on favourites to retaine the Premier League title next year (Though the other teams in the big four might have soemthing to say about that). But I wont go so far as saying they will be in the Champions League final in 2010 at Wembley. I will leave that up to the football Gods.

    Giggs was right in saying “United don’t have the right to win every title, we have to earn it”. To me that shows alot of class and a testament to Manchester United metality. To point out to the complaining Aresenal, Chelsea and Liverpool fans. At least we made it to the final and admitted that our opponets were stronger on match day.

    By the way if anyone is looking for empty trophy cabinets from Arsenal or the like, check out ebay I think they are on sale. Would look great beside the commode or the flower pot outside lol.

    Cheers,
    Robbie

  2. Tyson says:

    I think its just the way Barcelona exposed our weaknesses.

    Lets not forget the last time a team played against us in that manner was when Liverpool hammered us at Old Trafford 4-1.

    Youd think we would have been better at employing the same neutralising tactics Chelsea used in their last match but it wasn’t to be.

    Barcelona got their revenge on us for last year the bastards lol.

    It’s funny but I somehow don’t think these sides will be kept apart for very long though to be frank I’m much more worried about Chelsea than I am about Barcelona.

    if the rumours about the amount of money their throwing around this season is true their squad will be outrageous next year but that is probably tabloid bs(as usual).

    Either way in football money buys victory(ask Real Madrid and Barcelona) and I don’t think United are going to do much buying while it seems like Chelsea and Real Madrid are spending ludicrous amounts this summer so it’s a bit nervy at the moment.

  3. eplnfl says:

    A truly great domestic season as you point out Chris. The question for us here is does The Prem prepare English teams for the CL. Well there are those who point out that Liverpool seem to do well, but there are those who say that Liverpool is built for the CL and not the EPL. Is the hard knocks and fixture congestion of English football of benefit to a team trying to win in Europe. The answer seems to be no.

    Did Man U begin to believe too much in it’s own and the EPL’s press machines saying to them they were the champions of the best league in the world and the CL crown was a forgone conclusion? The answer seems yes to me.

  4. brn442 says:

    Barcelona are deserving champions. Maybe it was just an off night but Manchester’s midfield passing was woeful. It doesn’t matter how good your forwards are if you can’t give them good service. Sir Alex has never replaced Keane and it showed tonight, compuned by no Irwin or Neville style passing from either Evra or O’ shea. For all but the first 10 minutes, a god awful performance tonight, and to be outclassed in the air on both sides of the pitch – truly shocking. Well done Barca.

  5. dimitar says:

    I can’t believe it – you have a 30 mil. player who is best at controlling possession and setting up goals and you keep him on the bench? And start with Park/Anderson/Giggs? And expect to win against Barca? You have to play Berbatov from the beginning to establish the control, rhythm and the flow of the attack not let him in during the last 20 mins when everything is well established – you put in Tevez or Park in the last 20 mins if you need change. And this tactical brilliance is manifested just after the last EPL game against Arsenal (and the Lpool game) – when Berbatov also did not start and United totally failed to establish control (as contrasted by the games against Suprs and Wigan). You may get lucky once (CL against Arsenal) starting like this – but it was luck – if Arsenal had scored first it could have been a different game – and Arsenal is not Barcelona! Also, what is this stupid idea to constantly play Rooney as a winger – it might work once but not all the time. The obvious choice was to start Rooney as striker, Berba closely behind him to coordinate the attack and link all players, and Ronaldo on the wing to outrun the week Barca defense. It does not take a genius to figure out that Park/Anderson/Giggs (+ Rooney isolated/lost on the wing) cannot establish any sort of control against teams like Lpool and Barca – this is exactly why you paid 30 mil. for Berbatov several months ago, remember, USE HIM? It is better to make good passes 80% of the time and not chase the ball the other 20%, rather than make bad passes or lose the ball 80% of the time, interrupt the attack, but then chase after each ball. Finally, Barca has a team and plays like a team – United were not a team but a random collection of players that compete with each other; they seems to change players, tactics and pitch positions/roles every game.

  6. `Sean Atkinson says:

    Dear Gaffer,

    United did show up against Barcelona. Unfortunately, they went home after the first goal.

    Robbie:

    Barca played their first team? Feel free to take a good look at the team sheet.

  7. hmmm says:

    I know it’s EPL talk, but I’m a bit puzzled as to how your response to the game can be so centered on Manchester United. I don’t think they were that far off the usual team we’ve seen throughout the season, rarely has Man U played like they did in those two games against Arsenal, which seems to be all anyone thinks of when rating this team. The drifted through the season surviving off an incredible run of 1-0 victories, time and again struggling to put away dire sides like Sunderland. Chelsea matched up better against Barca, they are more tuned adept then United at sitting deep and defending for long periods. This Barcelona team was always going to be too good for a less then special United side. Iniesta and Xavi all basically retired Giggs. Pique and Puyol were fantastic as well. Busquets filled in fantastically as well. Impressive to think Barca did that with 6 Catalans in the starting lineup.

  8. NSBG says:

    PEPE OUTCLASSED FERGIE SIMPLE AS THAT! UNITED AND THEIR FANS THOUGHT A WEEK BEFORE THE FINAL THAT THEY ALREADY WON IT COZ BARCA HAD DIFFICULTYIN DFENCE!
    POOR FANS, IT’S BARCELONA FC, WITH HENRY, ETO’O, MESSI, XAVI, INIESTA, YAYA, PUYOL AND WITHOUT MARQUEZ, MILITO, ABIDAL, ALVES ( SORRY FOR TOO LITTLE MISSING BIG GUNS), AND THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A SIMPLE AFFAIR BECAUSE OF THEIR PROVEN DEFENCE AND CR7!
    SO MUCH EXPERIENCE, GLORY, TROPHIES AND YET SO MUCH MISTAKES!
    IT’S SIMPLE – BARCELONA FC IS JUST THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD AND THEY PROVED IT LAST NGHT BY FRUSTRATIN THE SUPPOSED BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD AND KICKED THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME- COUNTER ATTACK. IT WAS FERGIE’S PALN AND PEPE USED IT AND PUNISHED THEM!!
    KILLED BY THEIR OWN SWORD,!!!

  9. Thomas says:

    The absence of Fletcher was immense. People say, play neutralizing tactics in midfield, but who would you start to do that? If Fletcher were available, he would have played.

    I was right when I said Man U were going to come out and look for an early goal. They pressed hard and easily could have been 1-0 up. I think Barca shocked them by going up so early, and it knocked the entire plan out whack.

    The game showed once again how important the midfield is, especially at this level. Busquets, Iniesta, and Xavi were far too much for Man U too handle today. Giggs was invisible today. Carrick had his issues passing. And Park looked largely in over his head.

    That was the deciding factor.

  10. Andrew says:

    everyone just looked awful, I think the team that was put out there was not the right one, but they certainly did not expect an early goal,
    I agree they sort of went home after that.
    It is hard to really ever complain about anything as a united supporter since you get so much, it was still odd to see them that thoroughly outclassed and not feel like they deserved to win. It was good to see a final where the previous champion is only beaten in the final.

  11. Andrew says:

    also NSBG,
    Calm Down.

  12. Diego says:

    Barcelona – Champions of Europe, well done to them…
    People are saying Man U failed to show up… i tend to disagree…
    The fact of the matter is that both Barca and Man U played exactly the way they have played the entire season.
    Barca have been awesome this season, they have demolished teams left, right and centre for majority of the season and suffered only a few bad matches,
    Utd on the other hand have been below average for most of the season[alot of unconvincing wins - lets be honest] except for a few stellar performances here and there.
    so when push came to shove the players did what they were used…for Barca it meant turn on the style and for utd…well porto 1st leg springs to mind…
    Utd rode their luck and it cost them a place in history…

    So we look to 09-10 season… a determined LFC, a new look Chelsea perhaps?

  13. Robbie says:

    To Sean,

    Here is the Barcelona line up on Saturday May 23rd against Osasuna even though they lost. By Barca’s standards they did have some influential players on the pitch, which does translate into a predominantley first team selection.

    Jose Manuel Pinto
    Sylvinho
    Martin Caceres
    Eric Abidal
    Xavi Torres
    Alexander Hleb
    Victor Sanchez
    Eidur Gudjohnsen
    Bojan Krkic
    Pedro
    Samuel Eto’o

    Substitutes
    Victor Valdes
    Alberto Botia
    Xavi
    Seydou Keita
    Marc Muniesa
    Gonzalez Abraham
    Suarez Jeffren

  14. Fletcher Moss says:

    Let’s not over-react. United lost because they played badly but that doesn’t mean the team needs rebuilding. Last season United entered 5 competitions and won 3. They got to the final and semi-final of the others. In Ferguson we trust.

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