Manchester United legend, Wayne Rooney, has criticised his former boss’ tactics when they came up against Barcelona in the final of the UEFA Champions League back in 2009 and 2011.
United lost out to the Spanish side on both occasions in Roma and Wembley, losing 2-0 and 3-1, respectively, and Rooney believes Fergie was to blame because he tried to go toe-to-toe with them.
Speaking under his column for Sunday Times, where he also previewed Manchester City’s upcoming second leg tie against Real Madrid, Rooney wrote: “It’s always hard for a club like Real to go into a game saying ‘we’ll surrender the ball’. It is the same for United.
“But we lost two Champions League finals going toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s Barcelona, by trying to press high and get round them, which was suicidal.
“I remember Alex Ferguson saying ‘we’re Man United and we’re going to attack, it’s in the culture of this football club’ and thinking ‘I’m not too sure about this’.
“I think all the players knew, deep down, it was the wrong approach, that we were abandoning the way that had brought us success in that 2008 semi-final — and sure enough both times we got outplayed.
“There is being true to the club, but then there’s sitting back afterwards and thinking ‘we lost’.
“For me, it doesn’t matter how you do it in these big Champions League games, as long as you win — look at how Liverpool ground it out in last year’s final — and I think [Zinedine] Zidane has the same mindset.”
Rooney’s comment’s come months after he admitted to having pre-match clashes with Sir Alex during their time together at Old Trafford.
While we admit Sir Alex may have gotten it wrong against Barcelona on those occasions, you can’t take away the fact that he was a tactical genius, who for most of his career, outdid the opposition.