Wembley: The Curse of Johan Cruyff and The Genius of Pep Guardiola Will Haunt Alex Ferguson Again

LONDON ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: A detailed view of the UEFA Champions League Trophy during the UEFA Champions League Final 2011 Ticket Launch at City Hall on February 17 2011 in London England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Successful football managers tend to be obsessive, perfectionist workaholics- words that dwell in well with the characteristic of Pep Guardiola.

Barcelona's semi-final encounter against Real Madrid show-cased a very different Barcelona side, a side that was ready to do what the opposition did without altering their attacking finesse. On the eve of the Champions League final at Wembley a lot of people would question as to what Barcelona side would turn up...

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And the answer to that is Johan Cruyff's side of the 80s... under the management and leadership of Pep Guardiola- the pupil of the total football philosophy.

In 1992 European Cup Final, Cruyff preferred a 3-4-3 and needed a strong midfield rich in talent. Bakero, Eusebio, Guardiola and Koeman were the men who made it possible. In 2011, Guardiola would bask on Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets to do the job.

The attacking philosophy has not changed but the style has to some extent. This Barcelona side can attack with seven players, Iniesta and Xavi threaten to run deep into the box and full-backs attack as wingers.

Alex Ferguson has a problem to solve, and one of those problems would be as to how to control the midfield.

Do Manchester United have the legs to compete with Barcelona for 90 minutes? Can Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs be influential in the park, can they keep the ball long enough to create opportunities for Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez?..

In Rome, he played into Barcelona's hand, at Wembley would be turn things around?

 

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