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