Date: 2nd June 2011 at 1:31am
Written by:

For the early part of this week every time I turned on the TV, or opened the paper, news regarding the Champions league final was there. Whether it was a full Page spread on “Magical Messi” or the’ greatest team of the decade”, there was something to remind me that we lost the Champions League final to Barca.

It’s was if they didn’t want me to forget the defeat.

Back in 2009, this same thing drove me crazy, the last thing I wanted at the time was to be reminded of the 2-0 demolition at the hands of Barcelona, and it was a long time before I could finally accept that we were well and truly beaten by Barca. Fast forward two years later and another defeat at the hands of Barcelona and  again we were completely outclassed by the Catalans. A testament to Barca’s domination was Xavi’s exceptional passing and ball retention as by half time he had already made 70+ passes, miles ahead of everyone else on the pitch.

This isn’t to say we didn’t have our moments but for the majority of the game was spent with us chasing the ball.

But unlike last time, I’m not distraught or angry rather  I am disappointed that we didn’t win. I think I had accepted defeat the moment that brilliant shot left Villa’s foot, and flew past a despairing Edwin Van der Sar, who was trying to stop a shot that had goal written all over it.

If we didn’t have the best central defensive pairing in the world and probably one of the best goalkeepers, we’d have been on the receiving end of a very embarrassing thrashing. Unlike in Rome, on Saturday evening I felt like there was more of an effort from the players on the pitch, we fought hard but in the end it wasn’t enough.

I won’t bother torturing myself with ifs and buts regarding tactics or team selection because in all honesty I doubt any team could have beaten Barca putting on a performance like that. Pep Guardiola has built a strong team that plays well together, and are capable of out passing any team so it is fair to say we were beaten by probably the best football team in the world and probably the best of the past decade?

Fans of other teams are seemingly taking pleasure in reminding us of our defeat to Barcelona but the question must be asked ‘How would you propose your team goes about a game with Barca without coming off as badly as that?’

If the media will allow, I’d like to move on from this defeat and look ahead to next season and maybe another chance at beating them. A busy summer awaits us and I’m sure Fergie will be looking at strengthening the team, because he doesn’t like to lose, and he’ll be doing everything in his power to ensure that when we next meet Barca, he isn’t on the receiving end of another such hiding.

Siddarth is the editor of Bangalore To Old Trafford, one of our partner sites


9 responses to “Why I didn’t find Saturday as bad as Rome”

  1. Hal says:

    I’m still trying to decide which has been harder to take.

    The differences for me was that before Rome, I was convinced that United were the best team in the world. There wasn’t a question about it. 2 hours later, I was left astounded that we had been outclassed and it hurt having to admit that Barcelona were indeed what I thought we were.

    Saturday night was the night I had been waiting for 2 years and 1 day. Whatever happens, I thought, “whatever happens, we’ll turn up this time”. Did we? Aside from the first 10 minutes again and the 10 seconds which led to our goal, I don’t think we did. I never expected us to win the game, but I just had a feeling that revenge was on the cards. Maybe I’m feeling disappointment, perhaps?

    Regarding your point about Fergie will make sure he isn’t on the receiving end of such a hiding again, wasn’t he thinking that 2 years ago? I’m not criticizing SAF, but it just seems a pretty impossible task. I guess we’ll have to just wait and see. Like he says, teams go in cycles and hopefully the end of theirs is closer than we think.

    • Steven 111 says:

      The differences for me was that before Rome, I was convinced that United were the best team in the world. There wasn’t a question about it. 2 hours later,

      That sought of sums up ignorance for you. You were only favourites in yours and the English media’s heads. In Rome you turned up. Just were made to look like you hadn’t. Same happened at Wembley. Barca make you look small.

    • drefooty says:

      It wasn’t that United didn’t turn up, it’s that Barcelona DID turn up and just played United off the park.

      As United fans, we are not use to being 2nd best, so when we receive a beating, we sometimes think, “well we must not have shown up and that’s why we lost”. But in this case, a better skilled team made us look 2nd best.

      The challenge is to learn from the game and improve. This is the challenged that I am sure motivates Sir Alex for next season.

  2. dor arie says:

    Barca are simply too good for United at this time in football. I would have liked to have seen a better showing, and maybe a one-goal loss if a loss were the only outcome. But looking back, United were, by all accounts, lucky to have made it so far anyway. And it’s questionable whether any other team could have done (much) better. But the, where WERE all the other contenders for the crown? Oh, right. They’d already lost, apparently already too small to enjoy the thrill of being made yet smaller. Credit to Barcelona. Wish United had done more, but second in the Champions League is still better than expected at year’s commencement.

  3. Ayoola alawusa says:

    I agree with you on issue that we fought but it wasn’t hard enough.i think he’s(SAF)tactics would have been evident to folks had he had more technical players.But i’m not whining,but i’m just a little disappointed that what we were trying to do didn’t come off…I look to the future and i do trust SAF to face the challenge of building a team that could match barcelona……i’m sure in the next two years to three he’ll have such a team full of such quality and technical players…i don’t blame SAF,I just sympathize with him cos i’m sure he knew how had it was going to be to beat barca but still this team which is far less stronger than what it was last 2years put in something that i think is a stronger fight……to be candid,i had us written off from the beginning of the season…so to have won the premier&be at the champions’ league final means we’ve been above average,we’ve excellent considering!One united,united we stand…

  4. wiuru says:

    I accept we were well beaten and also the turmoil it will cause us . But ,we will correct things . Pep has in post match interviews hinted we were tougher opponents than expected .He was possibly being magnanimous but in the light of the seeing of Real Madrid got , I believe we can hold our heads up .Then quietly get on with resolving the deficet.

  5. sean says:

    the only difference between manchester united and barca is fergie. his tactics stink he picks wrong team or players. he spent two years talking about value in market isntead spending to rebuilt a midfield that has been deteriorating for the last three season i guess he’ll have to pay over the odds now to get the players we need but owen signing a new contract shows we dnt have money to spend so even if we spend it wont be on world class players it will be on the likes of ashley young honestly that would be a waste of the little money we have id rather see cleverly given a chance to play week in week out

    • drefooty says:

      I can sympathize with your frustration and I totally agree about the likes of Cleverly being given a chance, but we have to remember points about Sir Alex.

      He’s has won the English league 4 out of the last 5 years, been to the CL final 3 out of the last 4, won a ton of other trophies. He’s also winning against teams that are over spending crazy with no guarantees those players are committed or staying (Teves for example). Add to that, this league is far more competitive than it use to be yet Fergie continues to bring home silverware.

      Surely, Sir Alex is doing something right, yeah?

  6. David says:

    I’m definitely not as upset this time around. I do think in Rome United played poorly. This time around Barca didn’t give “us” a chance to play well, but we still tried our best.

    At the beginning of the match it looked like we had caught them cold but we couldn’t score early, and as soon as they got into their stride there was only going to be one outcome.