SPORTS

Sir Alex Ferguson admits he made Lionel Messi mistake in Man Utd’s 2011 UCL final

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley with Lionel Messi scoring a crucial goal and playing a key role

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final

Sir Alex Ferguson admits he made a mistake over his tactics in Manchester United’s Champions League final defeat.

The Red Devils were beaten 3-1 by Barcelona in the 2011 showpiece at Wembley with Lionel Messi getting on the scoresheet for Pep Guardiola’s side. Wayne Rooney had equalised for United before Messi and David Villa won it for Barca.

The La Liga giants were dominant for the majority of the game with Xavi and Andres Iniesta helping Barcelona control the midfield. Though Messi’s magic was also on full display.

Ferguson believes he could have limited the damage the Argentine superstar could have caused though with a tactical change.

In a recent interview with Gary Neville, Fergie said: “That’s where I lost the final against Barcelona at Wembley. I should have changed at half-time and put Ji-Sung Park on Messi.

“That was a mistake. I realised after ten minutes. I was going to do it at half-time and I said ‘well if we could just equalise before half-time, they might see the game differently, and we may grow into the game better’.”

Lionel Messi with the Champions League trophy
Lionel Messi shone as Barcelona won the Champions League in 2011

Park had started for United though was playing on the left side of midfield with Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick playing in the middle. That left Rooney in behind Javier Hernandez, though also gave Messi the freedom in front of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

South Korean star Park was known for his work-rate and efficiency when being given a man-marking role. And Fergie believes it could have made all the difference.

Lionel Messi and Ji-Sung Park battle for the ball
Ji-Sung Park wasn’t up against Lionel Messi enough for Sir Alex Ferguson’s liking

He added: “We were actually quite good in the last ten minutes of that game anyway, we come into it and we could have been in front actually.

“But if I’d have played Ji-Sung Park against Messi, I think we’d have beat them, I really do.

“Messi, two highlights, the fantastic goal he scored and he made another one. He was a great player but if there was a player who was going to do it, it was Ji-Sung Park.”

Leave a Comment