Manchester United centre back Rio Ferdinand says the side have a very strict game plan for the Champions League final on Saturday, and this time around United won’t allow Barcelona to catch them off guard.
“We need to approach the game right, we’ve got our strategy and we’ve got to stick to that, so if we do that, we won’t get side-tracked,” Ferdinand said yesterday at the United media day.
The 32-year-old is taking lessons from the 2009 final, which Barcelona won 2-0, to make sure mistakes aren’t repeated against the Spanish giants.
“I think we [got side tracked] last time, we conceded a goal after starting very well and we never really recovered,” Ferdinand said. “We’ll see on Saturday what lessons we’ve learned, but we need to keep to the game plan and work hard.”
Ferdinand says that United will be playing as a team to stop superstar Lionel Messi, and won't be giving the forward an inch of space.
“There’s not really one single way you can [stop Messi] - you have to do it as a team, and of all the games we’ve watched when teams have played well against him and Barcelona, the team’s played well as a whole,” the England international added.
“If the team plays well you defend well as a team, cut down the angles and the space then you’ve got a chance.”
Ferdinand insists that while Messi will puncture Manchester United if he is given any space on Saturday, United have players who are just as lethal.
“They’ve got numerous players that can hurt us, but they know we’ve got players who can hurt them and we need to make sure this time when we get our chances we take them,” Ferdinand said.