Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Well, it's good to hear some good, logical things from The Special One once a while. He seems to be supporting Manchester United to win the UEFA Champions League probably because they dumped his club out. Well, it is true Chelsea deserve to be in the final instead of Barcelona. As a neutral, I totally agree with that. However, when taking into account the performance of the entire season, I support FC Barcelona to win the match. However, La Blaugrana have a rookie coach and defensive problems which are not working for them against the more experienced and well loaded Red Devils. Thus, the Red Devils will be more mentally and defensively prepared than the La Blaugrana.

Sir Alex Ferguson can become the greatest in Rome — Jose Mourinho

MAY 26 — These are two great teams, of course, and obviously there are big expectations, but you must remember that finals are not for playing beautiful football. Finals are made to be won.

One thing that I want to say is that Chelsea deserved to be in the final. Barça are a top team but they were unable to be better than Chelsea. Were there bad decisions? Yes. Where Barcelona lucky? Yes. But they are still a super team and they kept their belief until the last second.

The Chelsea players deserve to be happy, they have almost been European champions for the last five years and there is always something strange connected with the almost. I am sad for them but Barcelona and Manchester United will give the world a great final.

I think both teams are very clear in their philosophy. They have a game model, a tactical approach, a style of play that, while very, very different, is established and automatic.

In this aspect there will be no surprises in the final: Man Utd will be Man Utd and Barça will be Barça. They believe in their way of playing, and in finals the mental approach is much more important than tactical aspects.

Tactical aspects are details, but mental approach is the key for finals. Both teams want the cup, and both are confident they can get it.

People have said that there is a big difference between the experience of Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola. Experience? What is that? For me, if you are good, you are good at 35 and you are good at 65. It is the same for a player, if you are top at 20 you are also top at 35.

Of course, Sir Alex is in his third Champions League final and Pep in his first as a manager. But when you are at the very top, you feel very comfortable in these moments. We love these moments. Remember, I was only 41 when I got to the Champions League final with Porto and won it.

So, will Pep be a bit more emotional than Sir Alex because this final represents so much for his young career? Yes. But Sir Alex is a man of soul and heart and he will have the adrenalin that we all need to be at the top level in these moments.

He is a super manager and a victory or a defeat in this moment of his career doesn’t make him better or worse — he has had a great career. But of course if he wins tomorrow it would make him the greatest club manager.

Sir Alex has made a super team. Three Premier League titles in a row and two Champions League finals — that is really top. They have quality and experience, with Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

They have absolutely everything as a team in this moment: strength, mentality, speed, magic, solutions. Beating Arsenal in the semi-finals didn’t impress me too much. It is normal. But three Premier League titles and two Champions League finals — you need no more words to explain how strong they are.

Of course, they have a special player in Ronaldo. He can be everything, play everywhere in attack, in any tactical system. What a player. When he plays as a striker, which Sir Alex likes him to do in big games, he doesn’t need to defend so much.

Rooney is much more adapted to the “defensive sacrifice”, especially when the opponent’s full-backs are very strong in attacking. There are many times when Rooney does not get the credit he deserves.

So, as a striker, Ronaldo is much more fresh and has more freedom to move and create. As a winger, he is incredible facing a defender when he has the ball. You look at his dribbling, his creation, his diagonal runs, his crosses, his heading and shooting when he goes inside, it is incredible.

Daniel Alves is out of the game, suspended, so it is easier for Sir Alex to decide who to play in the attacking positions. Alves is crucial for Barça. His width and Lionel Messi going inside are automatic for them. I feel sorry for Alves, he’s a super player, and I also think the game will lose something without his dynamic.

I think against Alves, Ji-Sung Park for sure would have been used by Ferguson to control him. Without Alves, a United winger can now just be an attacking winger. So, on the left it will be Rooney or Ronaldo. But, of course these are opinions. The decisions are for Sir Alex. And normally he decides well. Very well.

If Barcelona will miss Dani, Man United will miss Darren Fletcher. Fletcher is more important than people think. His work in midfield, especially in the midfield “wars”, in crucial matches is very important. Man United will miss his pace and aggression in defensive actions: he “eats” opponents in defensive transition.

In possession he is not magic like Ryan Giggs or a superb passer like Paul Scholes, but he is dynamic, he makes movements, he creates spaces. I like him a lot and I believe it is not an easy decision to replace him. I believe Xavi and Andres Iniesta are happy Fletch is not playing.

I know from experience how good this Man United team is from when we played them in the Champions League in February. Against them I think, especially at Old Trafford, we did very well because we controlled their transition, we closed the wings very well, we had control of the game with ball possession, we created some difficulties for them by playing in between the lines.

But at set pieces they are very strong. And Barcelona are even weaker than my Inter in this area. This could be a key point.

We have just won the Serie A with Inter but I know United are better than us. But we were very close to beating them. So, if we improve, we will be close, very close to the teams from the Premier League next season.

But it is very difficult to get players. One player who would improve us at Inter is Ricardo Carvalho. He is not playing at Chelsea now, and it looks like Alex is in front of him. Maybe it is better to let him come here and play. — Daily Telegraph

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