Date:29th May 2011 at 4:51pm
Written by:

Doing the post mortem in situations like this is always hard.

Having endured the texts, tweets and being tagged in stupid pictures on Facebook by fans of teams who are irrelevant in the scope of Manchester United and ignored them to the extent that they have given up out of boredom, you can actually begin to take a proper look at ┬álast night’s Champions League final with the aid of the press and news.

One thing I have continually seen no mater what medium I look at is the utterance or some variation of ‘Manchester United have nothing to be ashamed of as this Barcelona side is one of, if not the best team ever.’

I may have even said it myself and as true as the statement is, it does nothing for us.

Manchester United have built a reputation of excellence, it is because of this that there was so much emphasis on the squad that won league title number 19 not being good enough but whatever way you look at it as United fans or even foes you must accept that United are known for quality:

  • Teams
  • Players
  • Player development
  • Managers

These things have all played their part in the success we have enjoyed as well as the growth of the club on a worldwide level so perhaps it is why this defeat, that was seen on the biggest stage possible is so upsetting/humbling/delete as applicable.

We, an extraordinary club, we made to look ordinary.

I have the ultimate respect for Barcelona, their fancy football is effective and good to watch and teams rarely strike that balance. They have a remarkable squad of players many of whom were brought up in the club’s ethos having graduated from La Masia thus helping them play the way Guardiola, who also passed through the doors of La Masia, wants them to.

I could be here all day singing the praises of players individually, to be frank I don’t want to. They are a brilliant team and were brilliant last night and that is all that needs to be said but the question that must be asked is now what for us?

As I have said we have always strived for greatness, to be the best so what do we do now that such a clear opponent stands between us and that?

I saw someone say that United should be content with being the best of the rest and I had to restrain myself from using expletives, United are not and have never been a club to be content as we always will strive for more.

When Liverpool raced ahead in terms of league titles and European cups I don’t think the attitude of the club was ‘ah well at least we’ve won both at least once’. Instead we went about overtaking Liverpool and whilst we have overtaken them in terms of league titles, had it not been for Barcelona we would have at least equalled their European trophy haul.

Liverpool and Barcelona are a totally different proposition though and I don’t need to be reminded of this, that is the second time we have faced them in the Champions League final and come off the worst and whilst stats will say we did better first tie around I feel that progression as tiny as it was, was made.

As I spoke to a pal this morning he made a poignant remark, sometimes to win you have to lose.

We have lost to Barca twice now but I have seen we are learning from each loss. It may take time (and I don’t think I can go though many more of these kind of defeats) but we are taking things away from these games that will equip us to do better against them in the future.

Because I’m pretty certain you like me aren’t content with being the best of the chasing pack and would prefer to simply be the best instead.