FC Barcelona’s official site presented today a compilation of the comments of the players from Open Media Day concerning their Champions League rivals Manchester United. Specifically, the players comment on what they feel are the most dangerous aspects of United’s game, both in terms of players and tactics.
Wayne Rooney and ‘Chicharito’ Hernández, the two most habitual players in United’s attack, are the main concerns of the players of FC Barcelona, as recognized during Open Media Day on Monday.
The blaugrana squad really respects this Manchester United side, a team that has featured in three of the last four Champions League finals and that has already caused many problems for Barça during the first half of the final in Rome in 2009. But two players stand out in the minds of Josep Guardiola’s men. They are Wayne Rooney and ‘Chicharito’ Hernández, two attacking references for United, as well as Berbatov, the Pichichi of the Premier League, which aims to make a substitute appearance on Saturday.
Villa, one of the blaugrana attackers, best explains the virtues of Rooney and Hernandez: “They are exceptional players, both the one and the other. They are different but very complementary. They had a great season, but we are very confident in our defense.” Javier Mascherano, former Liverpool player and expert on playing against United, describes their impact: ”’Chicharito’ gives them depth. Rooney, the possession.”
But there’s more to United than just Rooney and ‘Chicharito’. They are a team that has played together for many years. “They have a very strong squad and play very well in all positions,” emphasizes Alves. “They have a group that [has been together] for many years, that is united, and they know what they have to do by memory,” highlighted Villa. Iniesta seeks to avoid specific names and instead speaks of the strength of the group of United: “Every player is important for United. All are internationals and references in their national teams. Park is a player [that stands out] from a great team. We will try to minimize their strengths.”
Villa, on the other hand, emphasizes their possession game, one of the possible keys to the grand finale: “They are a rival that likes to have the ball, that will not try to destroy our game, but to build their own. Who manages to have the ball will win the final.” Busquets agrees: “We are two teams that have a defined style of liking to have the ball. Both teams will want to have it. When we don’t have it, both sides will pressure to recover it.” The player from Badia believes that Alex Ferguson has a team that is “very offensive” minded, but which may play a little more defensively than usual on Saturday.
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