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.


14 responses to “Being beaten by the best is scant consolation for a club like ours”

  1. Yashi says:

    Losing a major final is always heart-breaking, whoever we are playing.

    I just hope the gulf in class will inspire us to claw our way to the top.

    I am still very proud of this group of players though. Getting to a CL final is no mean feat, but Barcelona was just one step too far for them. The great thing is that this group of players, young and old, will learn from this because they have always worked hard and have never had their commitment questioned on the pitch.

  2. jonathan says:

    This post is actually somewhat consoling as I too have been a bit frustrated by the “well it’s Barca” comments. I never said we were better than them or gave a guarentee that we would win; but as a United fan, you have to “believe”. It doesn’t mean I have to finger point and slag my team after the loss; but it should be healthy to feel gutted after such a loss rather than just shrugging it off. Unfortunately, I can’t agree with your last statement, as I’ve already witnessed many (if not a majority) of fans say that they can’t be beaten.

    If we did learn something though, it is that we need to do a 4-5-1 if we’re faced off with them again. I got caught up in the naivite in thinking we could manage with 2 CM’s and it just was not the case. The reality is that Barca don’t have fixed positions, but you can count of the fact that they move several players and pass around in the central areas that a four man mid cannot cope with.

    The other lesson is that players with superior ball control abilities are essential as well. Barca press and put on pressure like a team full of Park’s, and strength and pace are not enough. Unfortunately, that was evident with Valencia and it didn’t take long to see that Nani would’ve been the better option. You’ll simpy never get open space against Barca, so you need players who can still move effectively while keeping the ball right at their feet. Let’s hope Anderson keeps improving as we’ll need that ability from him next time.

    • Chudi says:

      That’s what I meant about learning from each game, first time around we went 4-5-1 but focused on the star power of Ronaldo. This time around 4-4-2 but looked at more of a team effort. Next time 4-5-1 but with more of a team based effort?

      There were some under performers yesterday but I think every game is a learning experience, next game may not see a win but will be a better performance than the last as we work on closing the gap.

      • jonathan says:

        The other option may be to try 4-3-3, but that’s very speculative. It would mean we mostly abandon our attack from the wing approach, but the wing isn’t much of an asset anyways when you’re chasing the ball in the the central areas all game.

        I think you made a good point earlier though. Fergie’s been smart in building a strong squad; and it still remains a non-negotiable as injuries seem more common in the EPL because of the physicality and even the weather. But like you said, we may be lacking a couple stars needed for a final game such as this. The transfer period should be interesting and I think Fergie will be motivated after such a loss.

  3. Alan says:

    Utd were totally outclassed both times they played Barce. Ferguson’s dire tactics in both matches once again displayed why he will never be regarded as the greatest manager. 2 European Cups in 17 attempts is nothing special.

    Playing Giggs and Carrick in midfield was suicide. Any hard tackler in there, even Anderson, would have upset Barce. Instead Ferguson gave Xavi and co.. all the time they wanted to destroy Utd. Giggs was rubbish as he so often is against Europe’s best.

    Anyone with half a brain knew grafters like Park JI Sung and Valencia would be out of their depth against Barce. But not Fergie, he gets away with it against Bolton and Birmingham and thinks it’ll work against the best team on the planet.

    Clueless tactics. Average team. Thank you Barce for exposing the ManU mediocrity, again.

    • Chudi says:

      So how would you have set us up out of curiosity?

    • Sid says:

      If theres ever been a greater manager than ferguson this world is yet to meet him. You back this point up by admitting he got an average team to the title and CL final. What other manager could do this? The CL is harder to win now than ever before. Luckily ferguson genius extends to youth and this will always continue to develop top class players. The future is bright. The future is red. Ferguson is the greatest man to ever coach a sports team. No one else comes close.

      • Alan says:

        It’s an average team that he built. He got to the final beating an average Marsilles, a poor Chelsea and a joke German side. Hardly an amazing achievement. In the final the truth was revealed.

        There’s a guy called Paisley who won three European Cups in six attempts. No other manager in European history has equalled his 3 as of yet and only Guardiola looks like being capable of winning 3 in 6 attempts. That’s real class.

  4. thekaizer says:

    it almost like we accept defeat because its barca. that is not the man utd way. why dont we have the best team?,why dont we have a team that people all over the world are in awe off. Something has to be done or we will just be getting to the final to loose to the same team

  5. PIP says:

    We don’t need to like being 2nd best, but we have to accept it this time. We have had better sides than the current one before, and Barca were not always this good. I think we need more strength in depth. More ball players/creativity. It’s a lot to ask for but I’m sure we will continue to strive to improve.

  6. Pete says:

    Once again it was our midfield that was exposed, Carrick, Park & Co is all well and good in the Premiere League but they’re not good enough for the bigger stage. I hope we set our sights higher than the players we are being linked with in the press (Young, Modric, Rodwell etc) or the same will happen again next season. I would like to have seen Scholes have had 45 minutes to bring the game under control and Nani looked like he could have given Barca a sterner test than Valencia, but hindsight is 20/20 vision as they say. Barca are good but would they have done that to our 1999 side? I don’t think so!

  7. AAdeScholes says:

    It was hight time we lost badly..battered and bruised so that we give up the habit of getting away with things…Fergie will be livid and restless…he will do something big