Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Mental approach is the key for finals - Mourinho

author: José Mourinho
source: The Daily Telegraph
date: 25 May 2009
editing: fcbtransfers.blogspot.com

These are two great teams, of course, and obviously there are big expectations, but you must remember that finals are not for playing beautiful football. Finals are made to be won.

One thing that I want to say is that Chelsea deserved to be in the final. Barça are a top team but they were unable to be better than Chelsea. Were there bad decisions? Yes. Where Barcelona lucky? Yes. But they are still a super team and they kept their belief until the last second.

I am sad for the Chelsea players but Barcelona and Manchester United will give the world a great final. I think both teams are very clear in their philosophy. They have a game model, a tactical approach, a style of play, that, while very, very different, is established and automatic.

In this aspect there will be no surprises in the final: Man Utd will be Man Utd and Barça will be Barça. They believe in their way of playing, and in finals the mental approach is much more important than tactical aspects. Tactical aspects are details, but mental approach is the key for finals. Both teams want the cup, and both are confident they can get it.

People have said that there is a big difference between the experience of Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola. Experience? What is that? For me, if you are good, you are good at 35 and you are good at 65. It is the same for a player, if you are top at 20 you are also top at 35.

Of course, Sir Alex is in his third Champions League final and Pep in his first as a manager. But when you are at the very top, you feel very comfortable in these moments. We love these moments. So, will Pep be a bit more emotional than Sir Alex because this final represents so much for his young career? Yes. But Sir Alex is a man of soul and heart and he will have the adrenalin that we all need to be at the top level in these moments.

United have absolutely everything as a team in this moment: strength, mentality, speed, magic, solutions. They have quality and experience, with Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. Three Premier League titles and two Champions League finals – you need no more words to explain how strong they are.

Of course, they have a special player in Ronaldo. He can be everything, play everywhere in attack, in any tactical system. When he plays as a striker, which Sir Alex likes him to do in big games, he doesn't need to defend so much. Rooney is much more adapted to the 'defensive sacrifice', especially when the opponent's full-backs are very strong in attacking. There are many times when Rooney does not get the credit he deserves.

So, as a striker, Ronaldo is much more fresh and has more freedom to move and create. As a winger, he is incredible facing a defender when he has the ball. You look at his dribbling, his creation, his diagonal runs, his crosses, his heading and shooting when he goes inside, it is incredible.

Daniel Alves is out of the game, suspended, so it is easier for Sir Alex to decide who to play in the attacking positions. Alves is crucial for Barça. His width and Lionel Messi going inside are automatic for them. I feel sorry for Alves, he's a super player, and I also think the game will lose something without his dynamic.

I think against Alves, Ji-Sung Park for sure would have been used by Ferguson to control him. Without Alves, a United winger can now just be an attacking winger. So, on the left it will be Rooney or Ronaldo. But, of course these are opinions. The decisions are for Sir Alex. And normally he decides well. Very well.

If Barcelona will miss Dani, Man United will miss Darren Fletcher. Fletcher is more important than people think. His work in midfield, especially in the midfield 'wars', in crucial matches is very important. Man United will miss his pace and aggression in defensive actions: he 'eats' opponents in defensive transition.

In possession he is not magic like Ryan Giggs or a superb passer like Paul Scholes, but he is dynamic, he makes movements, he creates spaces. I like him a lot and I believe it is not an easy decision to replace him. I believe Xavi and Andres Iniesta are happy Fletch is not playing.

I know from experience how good this Man United team is from when we played them in the Champions League in February. Against them I think, especially at Old Trafford, we did very well because we controlled their transition, we closed the wings very well, we had control of the game with ball possession, we created some difficulties for them by playing in between the lines. But at set pieces they are very strong. And Barcelona are even weaker than my Inter in this area. This could be a key point.

read the full and original article here

Read more:
Barcelona cannot deal with Manchester United
Barcelona vs Manchester United through the years
Man United training focuses on defensive tactics


tero said...

"Chelsea deserved to be in the final" I disagree.The way they played was horrible, definition of anti-football.They got one a little lucky goal (nothing against Essien,though). I think that Barca's biggest worries are not in set-pieces,I trust especially Pique's positioning that much.if barca can contain rooney, that will make CR7 also easier to defend. There has been a lot of critisism towards Eto'o lately, but I think that he can perform well.It's not just scoring, he works like crazy and helps defence.Eto'o can be used also in right flank to confuse ManU sluggish defenders.

Let's not worry about the final, if we can play our own game, we will win. Everything is different now compared to last year, at least we are a TEAM now....

Visca el Barca

groga said...

He's just looking from a Chelsea point of view (which is logical).

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