Sir Alex Ferguson called them the best team he had ever faced with Manchester United
The Champions league final of 2011 was a bitter one for Sir Alex Ferguson’s United, because of this Spanish giant
UCL final 2011, Manchester United vs FC Barcelona. Sir Alex Ferguson vs Pep Guardiola. A battle of two fierce European giants, played at the Wembley. It was a night to forget for the Manchester United fans and players as they were thrashed 3-1 by a brilliant FC Barcelona side. Barca were just eloquent of their intentions that night and had made life miserable for Edvin Van der Sar in the reds goal.
The team lineups had been surprising from both the sides. Ferguson had not picked Dimitar Berbatov in the squad itself. Guardiola left captain Carles Puyol on the bench. Eric Abidal who had just returned after beating a Liver cancer started the match at left back. The midfield masterclass of Xavi and Iniesta had left United all confused.
Barca’s Tiki Taka Masterclass
The tiki taka style of Barca had forced the reds to defend for most of the match. Lionel Messi played as a false 9 and dropped back to out number their opponent’s midfield. Pedro opened up the scoring at 27 minutes followed by an equaliser by Wayne Rooney at 34 minutes. Barcelona continued their pressing and United took their chances in the counter attacks.
The score at half time was 1-1, which didn’t remain the same for quite long as the match restarted. Messi dribbled through the Manchester midfield and defence and struck a shot from outside the box which ended in the goal post. The score now was 2-1 and United were in trouble at 54 minutes. However, David Villa produced a dazzling shot at 69 minutes to make the score 3-1 and seal the game for FC Barcelona.
In the post match interviews, Sir Alex Ferguson hailed this Barcelona team as the strongest team he had ever faced as a manager.
“They do mesmerise you with the way they pass it,” Ferguson said . “I expected us to do better, particularly after half-time, but it wasn’t to be. Great teams do go in cycles and they’re at the peak of the cycle they’re in at the moment.
“They’re the best in Europe, no question about that. In my time as a manager, I would say they’re the best team we’ve faced. Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It’s not easy when you’ve been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that. It’s a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football.