Mourinho critical about Solskjaer’s tactics against Barcelona

Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has said that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the tactics wrong during the Red Devils’ recent European trip to Barcelona. The Red Devils suffered a slender 1-0 defeat to Barcelona during the home leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie, and they could not overcome the deficit at the Camp Nou, where they were thoroughly dominated.

Speaking on RT Sport, Mourinho said that Messi was allowed too much space during the course of the double-legged quarter-final. He added that the Argentine was carefully guarded with a zonal marking system at Old Trafford, but that was not the case on the road, where Messi got the better of the United defence from a deeper position.

He said: “Messi’s position is easy to understand but it is not easy to create a cage to control him. He comes from the right, then stays in the middle, then [Ivan] Rakitic goes right and allows him to stay in the middle. It’s very difficult.Manchester United in the first match, zonally they occupied that area very well – but I think in this match that they started with a different perspective. In front of the defensive line was only Fred. That’s the area that Messi comes to get the ball and when Messi has the ball… one, one, one…you are dead.”

United had opted for an aggressive approach at the Camp Nou and they could have scored in the opening minute itself, had Rashford produce a better finish. Thereafter, Messi came into his own and he managed to punish the United side for their mistakes with a match-winning brace in a 3-0 triumph.

Barcelona are now scheduled to face Liverpool at the semi-final stage of the competition and the Reds could produce the biggest challenge yet for them, given they possess the season’s best-performing defender in Virgil van Dijk. No player has managed a dribble past the Dutchman this term, though Messi could change the statistic during the forthcoming clashes.