Paul Scholes questions Manuel Pellegrini's tactics

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During his playing days, Paul Scholes was rarely, if ever, seen in front of a camera off of the pitch, while an interview with the Manchester United legend was like gold dust.

However, since hanging up his boots for good in 2013 the former United and England midfielder has launched an unexpected career as an outspoken pundit, while also writing a column for a national newspaper.

And it's his column in The Independent which has been used as a vehicle in which to deliver a scathing attack on the tactics used by Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini against Barcelona in mid-week,

Busquets given too much space

Barcelona run out 2-1 winners on Tuesday night, and Scholes highlighted the freedom afforded to midfielder Sergio Busquets as the start of City's downfall.

Despite being surrounded by a host of stars, the 26-year-old midfielder is a near ever-present in a midfield containing the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic, and Scholes 'could not believe' Pellegrini ignored his threat.

As an ex-United stalwart, his opinions are never too welcome at the Etihad Stadium, and given his recent column, his popularity in the blue half of Manchester is unlikely to rise any time soon.

Tactical mistake

City's 2-1 defeat leaves their Champions League dreams in tatters, and Scholes, who had a short spell on the coaching staff at Old Trafford during Ryan Giggs' reign as caretaker boss, was clear about where he believed the problems started.

"You cannot play against Barcelona with a two-man attack that is as static as the one that Manchester City played on Tuesday night," he said.

"I could not believe that Manuel Pellegrini went with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko up front and that he asked neither of them to drop off when City lost the ball to deal with Sergio Busquets.

"Busquets runs the game for Barcelona. He gets the ball forward to Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic and from there it goes to Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. And then you’re really in trouble."


Not only did Scholes offer his opinion on where Pellegrini went wrong, he was also quick to explain how he'd have combated the Busquets affect, saying: "You have to put someone on Busquets.

"I would have played James Milner and Samir Nasri on the flanks, Aguero on his own up front and have had David Silva dropping into the middle to deal with Busquets.

Attacking intent

That Pellegrini opted to start with two strikers came as no real surprise given that he'd vowed to attack the four-time European champions.

"In some ways I admire the principle of a manager who is determined that his team must play their own game"

It was a brave approach from the City boss, and although Scholes suggested it was an honourable one, felt it was the wrong decision.

"In some ways I admire the principle of a manager who is determined that his team must play their own game. But this was not Newcastle at home, this was Barcelona, he said.

"They are not as good as the Barcelona team that won two European Cups but they still have very high-quality players if you let them play the way they want to."

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Manchester City
Paul Scholes
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