Legendary England forward Wayne Rooney has criticised former manager Sir Alex Ferguson for his “suicidal” tactics in Manchester United’s two Champions League finals against Barcelona.
United twice met Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side in the last two of the competition in 2009 and 2011.
On both occasions United were beaten 2-0 and 3-1 respectively to the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and co.
But Rooney feels United could have came out on top had they implemented different tactics.
Discussing Real Madrid’s chances of overturning a 2-1 first leg loss to Guardiola’s Man City this week, Rooney told The Sunday Times: “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.”
United had knocked Barcelona out on the way to winning the trophy in 2008, battling to a 1-0 aggregate win after two solid, strategic performances.
They were unable to repeat the trick in either final though, after Ferguson put his confidence in his players to outplay Barcelona at their own game.
Rooney added: “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 [Madrid boss Zinedine] Zidane has the same mindset.”