Rio upbeat despite final defeat

Rio Ferdinand insists Manchester United can look back on a good season despite another crushing Champions League final disappointment.

For the second time in three years, United could find no answer to Barcelona.

Wayne Rooney's first-half equaliser might have given Sir Alex Ferguson's men some hope of recording a shock victory at Wembley on Saturday night.

However, once Lionel Messi had scored his first goal on English soil, there was no way back for the Premier League champions, who were condemned to a 3-1 defeat by David Villa's sweet curling effort.

"We have had a fantastic season this year," said Ferdinand.

"We are disappointed and this defeat leaves a bad taste in the mouth going into the summer but when you sit back and reflect on things we have had a top season.

"We reached the Champions League final again. We won the league. We reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. It has not been a bad season."

However, raising spirits is going to be incredibly hard for Ferguson, knowing his team appear to have hit a brick wall in the brilliant Catalans, who confirmed their status as one of the best teams ever to have played the game.

"You have to give credit where it is due," said Ferdinand.

"They were the better team today and they probably deserved to win. I am just really disappointed if I am honest."

United did play better than their performance in Rome.

The problem was Barcelona have improved just as much.

"You don't go into any final being satisfied to be second best," said Ferdinand.

"Today we didn't get to pick up the trophy and they did.

"At 1-0 down I still thought we had a good chance to get back into the game.

"We got back on level terms but then conceded a bad goal and the third killed it off.

"Regardless of what happened two years ago, we didn't really do as well as we should have done.

"They are a good side. They know exactly what their jobs are and they work well as a team and individuals. You have to try and combat that.

"We had a good game plan. Maybe we didn't implement it as well as we could have."

Source: Team Talk
Date Published: 31 May 2011

Latest Forum Comments

Have your say on Rio upbeat despite final defeat in the United Online forum

Barca are just too good simple as that, we can still hold our heads high they did us proud getting so far we'll just have to settle for being the second best team in Europe.

- Munsterman

I don't think anyone had a particularly bad game. Park ran his legs off, Carrick made plenty of interceptions which against any other team would have broken up their move and we would have cleared the ball. Barca somehow seemed to always have someone pop up and win the second ball, and made us look a lot worse than we actually were. At least we scored this time!

- fenwar

Theyre phenomenal. The recriminations are pointless. We're a very good side, probably the second best in the world, but Barcelona are one of the best teams ever and certainly the best in the last 20 years. Theres no shame in losing to them. The only chance we had was to stick 10 men behind the ball and defend for a 0-0 or a lucky 1-0 win. It almost certainly wouldnt have worked and i'm glad we stuck to our traditions and tried to take them on playing our own game. Gutted, but we have to regroup and come again. Our players deserve credit for a great season.

- twoc2002

We can have no complaints. We were beaten by the better team. I tip my cap to them. They were magnificent. We'll keep the Red flag flying high!!

- Darren

We just came up against an awesome team, we just had no answer to them, well done Barcelona, deserving champions as much as it hurts to say that.

- Hamzah

Half time and a great goal from Rooney. We will have to conceded that they will have the ball a lot, but keep them wide and their bigger player might keep off the ball.

- Cookster68

Rio is going to track Messi, so when Messi drops Rio will push up. This is aimed at giving us an extra man in midfield and not getting swamped as we did in 2009 where we just could not get the ball.

- Oli

Barcelona are definitely favourites but so were we in 2009 and we know what happened then. I think the players will still be hurt from what happened that night and despite them saying that revenge isn't in their minds they'll certainly be looking to prove a point and avoid that feeling again. I'd go with the following starting eleven. - - - - - - Van Der Sar - - - - - - - - Rafael - Vidic - Ferdinand - Evra - - Valencia - Carrick - Giggs - Park - - - - - Hernandez - Rooney - - - - We might possible leave Hernandez on the bench and bring someone else into midfield but I think we'd be making the same mistake as we did in 2009. Then the problem was playing Ronaldo up top on his own who kept dropping deeper to get the ball leaving nothing up front. I fear that Rooney would do the same thing and we'd struggle to get out. However, with Hernandez up front it would give Rooney the freedom to drop deeper and put Busquets under pressure when we don't have the ball, which would leave Carrick and Giggs to get tight to Xavi and Iniesta. If we can keep the midfield tight and force the ball wide then I think we have more quality there both defending and going forward so hopefully that's where the game will be won.

- Dave

For all the glorious football they play, many people forget that they've ridden their fair share of luck in terms of a few crucial refereeing decisions in getting to the finals of the Champions' League in the past few years (Chelsea in 2009, possibly Arsenal and Real Madrid this year). So take away that 'luck', add the fact that Arsenal beat them 2-1 and, while we'd still be underdogs, I'd say we have a reasonable chance if we play up to our level!

- Abner

I heard Smalling talking today about trying to keep a high line and push Barca back. Its an option, and like in 2009 and we could create a few chances and hopefully nick an early goal, but its a risky tactic. Madrid tried something similar in the league game against Barca and lost 5-0. I'd much rather we use a variation of the tactic that has proved successful against Arsenal. Soak up the pressure and attack at pace.

- twoc2002