Former FC Barcelona midfielder Eidur Gudjohnsen was interviewed on Tuesday by Sam Wallace of The Independent. The player had some interesting memories to share on Barcelona’s preparations for the 2009 Champions League final in which Manchester United was defeated 2-0 in Rome.
Gudjohnsen did not feature in that match, but noted that his most intense memory of the time was the way in which Pep Guardiola prepared his players mentally for the contest: “I just remember what Guardiola said to us again and again. He went through it all and said, ‘Listen boys, this is how we are going to win the final’. Then he set up the team and convinced us, just put it in our mindset that we were going to win it. And that was it. It turned out almost exactly how he said it would.”
Gudjohnsen went on to flesh out his version of Pep’s plan to defeat United: “[Guardiola] told us before the game where United would leave space and how we were going to make the most of that space in our position play and where we were going to keep the ball. In that particular game what he did was push Eto’o on the right wing, Thierry Henry on the left wing as high as they could to keep United’s full-backs occupied. He used Lionel Messi as a striker but he was just floating in and out, which meant the United centre halves never really got close. With Messi dropping off that created an extra man to keep possession. Eto’o and Henry had the pace to get in behind United. It was very difficult to mark.”
Read the original interview here.