Ferguson praises dominant Barcelona in defeat

May 28th, 2009 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Alex Ferguson Rome, May 28 (DPA) Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his Manchester United side were comprehensively outplayed by Barcelona in their Champions League final Wednesday as goals in each half from Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi secured a 2-0 win for the Catalan giants.
“I knew before the game what a good football team they are,” said Ferguson, who called Pep Guardiola’s side one of the best he has come up against in Europe.

“It’s a credit to them that they pursue their philosophy and don’t change.”

Ferguson was particularly strong in his praise for Guardiola, who, in his first year as a coach, has landed a historic treble of Spanish league, King’s Cup and Champions League.

“He hasn’t changed the philosophy, they all enjoy playing football and it’s a credit to them,” said the 67-year-old Scot.

Although United started brightly, Barcelona took control from the 10th minute onwards, once Eto’o wrong-footed Nemanja Vidic before beating Edwin van der Sar in the United goal from close range.

“It gave them the opportunity to keep possession which they do very well,” said the United boss.

“To lose a goal from a situation like that is a bad goal to lose. Tonight the defending was shoddy, the first goal gave them boost.”

Although he refused to single out any of his players, Ferguson admitted that he had “expected better” from the English champions, who performed well below expectations.

“I think there’s a disappointment in the performance of some individuals, who will feel it themselves,” he said.

“We were well beaten. The better team won, there is nothing we can do about that now.”

Having watched Barcelona’s semi-final loss to United in last season’s competition and how the threat of Messi was snubbed out by Patrice Evra, Guardiola started with the Argentine star in the middle rather than on the right.

“Otherwise it was as we expected,” said Ferguson. “Losing the first goal was decisive for us, we couldn’t recover from that.”

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