Ferguson slams defensive display

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Football News

Sir Alex Ferguson tore into his defenders after Manchester United had thrown away the chance of making history at the Stadio Olimpico.

Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi scored the goals which gave Barcelona a 2-0 victory, denying United the honour of becoming the first club to retain the Champions League. And while Ferguson did not name the culprits he clearly had Nemanja Vidic in mind when he described United's defending for Eto'o's first goal as "shoddy."

"In our best performances this season we have defended very well, but the defending was shoddy," said Ferguson.

"The first goal didn't help. It gave them the opportunity to keep possession. We didn't plan to lose a goal early and we didn't deal with it well enough. That was the story. To lose a goal like that was a bad goal. It was a disappointing performance and some individuals will feel it themselves."

United were hoping to become the first club successfully to defend the trophy in its current format.

But while Ferguson threw on Carlos Tevez for Anderson and Dimitar Berbatov for Park Ji-Sung in a bid to turn around the match in the second-half the United boss was outfoxed tactically by Josep Guardiola.

The Barcelona coach withdrew Messi from his wide berth up front to reinforce midfield and it gave the Spaniards dominance.

It could have been more embarrassing for United as Xavi Hernandez struck a post and Thierry Henry and Carles Puyol brought fine saves from Edwin Van der Sar in a pulsating second half.

Ferguson said: "The disappointment was the use of the ball when we got possession. You have to wait minutes to get it back off them. Could be it was an off night. Could be it was a mountain too big to climb.

"We knew what a good football team they were. We had difficulty in defending against them. Messi dropped into midfield and they kept possession and made it difficult for us."

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European News
Dimitar Berbatov
Edwin Van der Sar
Carlos Tevez
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic
Ji-Sung Park
Thierry Henry

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