Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Xavi, Messi, Iniesta: Manchester United's Champions League conundrum

UNSTOPPABLE? Manchester United will hope not UNSTOPPABLE? Manchester United will hope not
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Manchester United must find a way of stopping Barcelona's own Holy Trinity if they are to stand any chance of winning the Champions League later this month.

With only a point required from their final two games to claim a record 19th league title, United are already looking towards the rematch of their 2009 final, when they were comfortably defeat by Pep Guardiola's all-star team.

The Catalans will be favourites this time around too.

And, whilst Ferguson has plenty of faith in his champions-elect, he realises Barcelona's main men have to be stopped.

"Obviously, Barcelona is the big one now," Ferguson told US-based satellite radio station Sirius XM.

"In the final last time we started off really well, then gave away a bad goal. After that Barcelona kept the ball very well, as they always do.

"What we have to do is find a solution to the Xavi-Messi-Iniesta problem.

"Everyone is searching for that because they are outstanding footballers. We have our share too.

"We have players who can cause any team a lot of bother and hopefully those attacking players will give Barcelona problems that everyone thinks they are going to give us."

Ferguson does look as though he will be picking from strength, with Wayne Rooney cleared to play in United's final two league games at Blackburn on Saturday and against Blackpool at Old Trafford - when the Premier League trophy will be presented - on May 22 after the FA accepted his claim that the gesture he made was questioning a linesman's eyesight rather than a reaction to the Chelsea supporters during United's 2-1 win.

The result was further proof that United may not quite be as bad as many people think, with Ferguson obviously the chief witness for the defence.

"Everyone has said this is not a good Manchester United team, that we are not this or that," he said.

"But we have scored more goals than anyone else. Our home form has been magnificent. We are undefeated in Europe. We are in the Champions League final and we will win the league by getting one more point.

"You have to put all the criticism to one side because I have to be realistic when I look at my team and ask 'Am I satisfied?'

"Those players have given me everything."

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