ESPN Soccernet - Soccernet Comments
soccernet blog
Soccernet Home Soccernet Home
Soccernet  Home Blogs Home
RSS feed
Soccernet Comments
Posted by Jon Carter on 04/28/2010

Bojan holds his head after a missed chance. © Getty Images

It is hard to criticise a team who have scored 83 goals in La Liga this season for lacking the firepower to see them through but, against Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, reigning European champions Barcelona showed that their fluid attacking style has weaknesses.

After the heights of the sextuple last year, this season’s Barcelona had a lot to live up to, but the decision to sell Samuel Eto’o to their eventual conquerors in Europe could be one that comes back to haunt them.

On 62 minutes, with Barcelona needing two goals, coach Pep Guardiola decided to bring off €40 million+ man Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a kid - Bojan Krkic - who missed a glorious chance late on. It was a patent admission that his gamble to sign the inconsistent Swede in the summer – losing 34-goal Eto’o in the process – had failed and that analysis was backed up further when centre-back Gerard Pique was employed as a striker.

For all Barcelona’s fluid passing, neat movement and attacking prowess, they lack a Plan B. It is a criticism that has often followed the great attacking sides in the game, especially those who remain faithful to one particular style of play. However, truly great sides need to be adaptable and when a bus is parked in front of goal, they need to find a way past it.

Guardiola’s decision to employ Pique up front bore fruit with the Spaniard’s wonderful goal in the 84th minute, but he had the opportunity to make changes once Inter had been reduced to ten men an hour earlier. After Thiago Motta’s dismissal for what can only be described as a ‘face push’, Guardiola had licence to attack and change his formation, but he chose not to until the break.

Even when it became obvious that Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes was going to have an easy night, Guardiola still only brought on Maxwell to give the side more width when he replaced Gabriel Milito at left-back. Then, when he did make his second roll of the dice, Ibra was withdrawn and Thierry Henry overlooked for 22-year-old Jeffren Suarez.

What may prove to be Henry’s last appearance on the Barcelona bench could also be viewed as the moment that the Barcelona boardroom discovered Guardiola’s limitations as a coach. He will learn from the experience, yes, but perhaps the realisation that he cannot rely on his two main central strikers will force his hand in the transfer window this summer.

Incredible when you consider the money that Barcelona spent last season, but the cost of £40 million to bring in Valencia’s David Villa (a man who has proven at both international and club level that he is the real deal) suddenly looks cheap in comparison.

Of course the other name that the club will be chasing this summer will be Cesc Fabregas. The talent of the Barcelona midfield is there for everyone to see, until the evidence is placed before you that they do not possess a genuine goalscoring midfielder. Inter were able to upset the balance of the Barca passing game and cause Lionel Messi to drop so deep that he was miles away from goal (where he is not at his most dangerous), but more was perhaps expected from Xavi.

One moment, when he turned brilliantly to get free of the persistent Wesley Sneijder before opting to pass badly to Messi rather than shoot, suggested that a player of the Fabregas mould would find himself most welcome at Camp Nou, even if it means battling the absent Andres Iniesta for a place in the side.

Ultimately, Inter must take credit for holding off their opponents with a defensive display that Mourinho can be proud of. The master tactician made sure that he played upon Barcelona’s weaknesses and, rightly, has a European final to look forward to as a result. For the Catalans, the focus turns to the league – failure to bounce back from this painful experience would render the season a failure too. They may need a Plan B to do it though.


Posted by Gary on 04/28/2010

Good analysis.

Another tactic Pepe can bring to this team is how to behave with class. Like, reduce diving, playacting and not be sore losers. Also, like letting other team celebrate at the end rather than kicking off the sprinkling system.

It would help them to be classy and not just pretty passing boys.

Posted by Robert Van Ness on 04/28/2010

A very fair assesment, Barca fans such as myself readily admit that losing Eto'o, who is proven quality, for Ibrahimovic, who is unproven quality was a mistake. Eto'o should go on and do what Ibrahimovic could not at Inter, win a Champions League. He's the difference. I am sure that a Barca team with Eto'o would have been able to beat Inter. We will never know, but we do know that Ibrahimovic was on a better team this year, and still failed.

Posted by william charlton on 04/28/2010

With 70 -80 percent of the Ball, & around the Inter 18 Yard area. it was clear to much tippy tappy passing to much square passing & back passing, why did'nt Some Barca player play the Hero go it alone hang onto the Ball & force Himsef through the Iter defence. but that is Continental soccer to many robots.

Posted by Sebastian on 04/28/2010

More than needing a plan B, Barcelona needs some of their players to be more selfish when 20-30 meters out from goal. Too often Messi, but also Pedro, opted to pass rather than try to at least draw a foul in a dangerous area. It's the same thing that happened last year against Chelsea, another team that parked the bus. It seems as if Messi has "matured" into a less selfish player, which reduced his impact on a game like this. When team parks the bus, the best option is going to be to give the ball to your most gifted player and have him try to beat a man, and to keep the ball on the ground. That way Messi may draw a foul in a dangerous position or a penalty. The way Barca plays against teams that park the bus doesn't force defenders to make a decision to foul a player or to let them go and rely on their teammate. I would rather Messi try to be Maradona and hog the ball in a game like this. He may be dispossessed 9 times, but on the 10th, he may create a goal.

Posted by baffled on 04/28/2010

i;m curious why you keep saying that barcelona needs fabregas badly, when it's simply clear that they lack of plan b when opponent play ultra-defensively (minus 1 player). I don't think adding fabregas will solve the problem of inability to score against 10 men with more than 60 minutes to play.

Posted by Cesar on 04/28/2010

Well said..

Posted by Solomon on 04/28/2010

Laughs.. barca... ??? let them be without trophy this season... good for the best team in the world. Now they know that they need not just the best team's performance, but the best tactician as a coach.......Murinho is 500 Million pounds for sale.

Posted by AjanleKoko on 04/28/2010

It is so amusing to read all these patent criticisms of Barcelona's attacking style, when only a month ago, Messi was described as the greatest thing since the lottery, and Pep was second only to Einstein. It just goes to show that you have no enemies in victory, and no friends in defeat.

Posted by Jeff on 04/28/2010

Plan B??? They hammered Inter. Sometimes you don't get the breaks.

Posted by Matt on 04/28/2010

What on earth is the point of throwing in that Fabregas would fit in well at Barca? It's ignorant writers like you who are bad for football! Cesc has a 5 year contract that cannot be broken. He isn't for sale and he isn't moving in the summer. Stick to facts and stop speculating such nonsense!

Posted by tom on 04/28/2010

It is clear that Barca need an attacking midfielder. When Xavi is unable to provide the inspiration needed to create goals, as shown in the past two Inter matches, it is necessary that other midfielders are necessary. Busquets has been unreliable, and his shameful dive today showed the world the ugly side of Barcelona. Keita is unconsistent and Yaya Toure was anything but helpful in this game. If criticism is due, Yaya Toure coughed up balls, unnecessarily had his hand in front of him which caused the crucial goal in overtime to be disallowed and took wasteful long range shots that wasted precious minutes.

Posted by jerry on 04/28/2010

very very well said

Posted by alpesh.c.gujjar on 04/28/2010

jose is a magicion..he is not really from this planet,he does what he primises,i dont know how but he always does it..he promised a final spot to inter and now he is in the final of cl..jose is an alien..real will be the best place for him and i feel it will be realy hard to beat them if jose becomes their manager..i dont feel man utd is the right place for him,united have alot of rules when it comes to runing and byin players.jose is simple special.

Posted by ssentongo ernest on 04/28/2010

this is the most acurate article i have read in years

Posted by Chelsea Bayern Fan on 04/28/2010

Barca rode their luck to reach the final last year. But luck ran out this year. They were lucky to not beat Chelsea and still be in the final last year. However, ironically their out even after beating Inter. So the karma caught up.

Congratulations to Inter and the man of the moment (Mourinho).

Posted by dl on 04/28/2010

Couldn't agree more. I'm a Man Utd fan and like most fans i enjoy watching Barcelona's fluid passing game but they have no plan b. They only have 1 plan, 1 mode, 1 speed. Chelsea and Inter have shown how its done against Barca who are the reigning world club champions. Pep showed a lack of initiative and how Henry was not brought on is beyond me, instead Bojan and Jeffren??? Im disappointed Bayern snatched victory against us but i reckon Inter will win the final while Mourinho is sure to have a special plan in place to keep Bayern and Robben quiet and plans b,c,d etc...

Posted by gunner1930 on 04/28/2010

Good points but why didnot barcelona use two strikers and use the width of the pitch. Barcelona were playing too much through the middle of the park and not using the wings. Ibra is waste pep has overlooked henry and he would have been better than ibra or played along with the henry instead of yaya toure or busquets. Fabregas is too soft. So I would take xavi or iniesta + yaya toure if I was wenger if barca really wants fab.

Posted by onyeike on 04/28/2010

i agree that it was obvious that barcelonas dependence on their sleek passing game cost them the final.moreso,the inability of guardiola to read the tactics of mourinho was a silent point but very important.anyways congrats to inter milan as the tradition continues

Posted by jaheim on 04/28/2010

Well i reckon jose and his troops will triumph over the germans, however its going to be a very cagey game. Maurinho aparently did learn from Van Gaal, he did say sometimes back that he learnt tactics from him while he was an interpreter at barcelona. So master Vs Aprentice, but for me Maurinho this trophy is written Inter and Maurinho all over it

Posted by Jack Simmons on 04/28/2010

Interesting final. Not sure I agree with the Plan B criticism. Barca was brilliant. But it is hard to score on a team that just locks things down in front of the goal, and the Italian sides have perfected that style of play.

The red card made this a strange game. I wish the game would have been played 11 v 11, because Inter would have attacked more, and oddly, that would have left Barca with better scoring options. I am not saying that the red card made it easier for Inter, but it definitely made the game less interesting, as Inter gave up on the attack once they were down.

The transfer of Eto and Zlatan sees to have gone in Inter's favor now.

Posted by Radnichole on 04/28/2010

What a wonderful assessment of this game, and the Barca weakness. I couldn't help but find that miuch the same is true at Arsenal, the lack of many plans to scroll through to breakdown a single game.

Mourinho isn't always the most likeable manager on the pitch, but he's pitch-perfect when he requires it.

Posted by black zidane on 04/28/2010

well put article. barca may be the best team in the world. but they play one style.. ppl like dani alves and zlatan shud not b playin for barca. zlatan never gives 100% and alves is waaay overated. maicon n inters backline simply great. if ribery wins the appeal i feel bayern will win. pep has alot 2learn, he looked great cuz he coaches a great team, but wen times get ruff he fumbles..

Posted by KAYODE SUBERU on 04/28/2010

u are spot on with your analysis of barca season and more importantly this game.he sold etoo and hwhen persistently askedwhy

Posted by Aidan on 04/28/2010

The two games betwwen Inter and Barcelona showed that there true engineer is Iniesta.Withou him in the middle there was no creativity and to be honest Guardiola didnt know what to do. Guardiola has a lot to learn he only looks good because of great individual players but othr than that he must go back and learn from Ferguson and Mourinho..

Posted by moises perez on 04/28/2010

i feel guardiola's biggest mistake was not making the right adjustments. a big part of thier game is using the flanks to get behind the defense. but today, both cani alves and maxwell were not doing that. guardiola also should have left Ibrahimovic on and teamed him up with pique in the penalty box for everyone to aim crosses into. they would have caused more danger with all the knock downs and clearances from those crosses than with thier predictable passing.

Posted by Julius on 04/28/2010

All of a sudden, people have realized how the sale of Eto has affected Barce. Ibra is useless. He left Inter for Barce to win CL, now he will watch Inter lift the trophy win Eto needlessly wining it the third time.

Posted by Anonymous on 04/28/2010

Classy Jose Mourinho. Dont argue with me this is definately their year: Inter. Up Inter

Posted by kay on 04/28/2010

i think this is a lesson for abrahamovic,and the chelsea board.All mourinho needed at chelsea was support and encouragement and not the SACK.Afterall,he made chelsea the force they are in today's world of football.

Posted by BIGFISH on 04/28/2010

Jose has again proven that he is a world class coach by always coming first anywhere he goes and also saying what others dare not say as regards irregularities in leagues and in the world of football entirely.. I will always support him for being honest and upright.. for Bacar, the cup is not ur birthright as most time u re aided by ill-mannered referees to reach finals but this time around nemesis followed.. Jose, thank you for appreciating God after the match by lifting up your two hands to Him.

Posted by Benedito on 04/28/2010

I believe Ibrahimocic plus man was the biggest mistake in Guardiola's short life as a coach. Samuel Eto'o has been to two finals with them and scored in both. he scored countless numbers of goals for them, and then was unfairly chased out to bring a fantasy footballer that is the Swede! it just goes to show that African players find it hard to gain recognition. i cant remember any other that has been as successful as Eto in the past four to five years. this man must go down in history as one of the most underrated footballers ever. those who know football, such as the likes of Fernando Torres will tell you who one of their favorite stiker is. hope Inter win the final-go Inter!!!!

Posted by Olufemi Aoko on 04/28/2010

you have been spot on jon.Most great attacking sides lack plan B,just like Arsene's Arsenal.And i dont understand why Henry was overlooked for kids like Bojan and Jeffren,even if he is not having the best of times,i think his experience is still priceless.Why they let Eto'o go,still beats everyone.Mourinho is the definition of a modern manager who knows when to play pretty and when to play dirty.

Posted by ab8623 on 04/28/2010

Good article. If one has watched Barcelona in the last two seasons, they never never change their style. The only thing they change is Messi playing central instead of right.

It always works for them against any team. The only team it did not seem to work against was Chelsea last year (where they luckily went thru). Now it did not work against Inter.

A Plan B is definitely required. Great coaches can stop any Plan A (as Mourinho showed and Hiddink did last year). A Plan B is required ro surprise the other coach.

I agree with Carter, Barca need a Plan B and as everyone already knew, selling Eto'o was indeed a bad decision.

Posted by Sonny on 04/29/2010

Mourinho's 'master plan' was to have his player sent off. It provided a perfect excuse to pack the bus as he planned to do all along.With 11 players, he would have been forced to venture out of his half occasionally to avoid criticism for being overly negative. Having your own strikers playing as deep as fullbacks, and the opposing goalkeeper virtually playing sweeper at the halfway line is how to be classed as a tactical genius these days in football!!!Shame to football and you all know it.When a coach practically admits to being inferior to another team and decides to station all his players in his box and prays that the referee overlook cynical attempts at gamesmanship and Lady luck,you get no praises here no matter how many trophies it fetches you. It doesn't take for a creative mind to do what Mourinho's teams do. Even with a 300 million pounds team at Chelsea, the sloe approach was to win at all cost. I would like to see him coach West Ham Utd and be successful.

Posted by Aarij on 04/29/2010

This author surely hadn't read any article related Barcelona for a year or so. The best team in the world, argubaly among the greatest of all time, suddenly needs a plan B. This is not an analysis this is a reaction. What about chelsea? they have many "plans" and a very physical forward; why do they got beaten?
My friend it is not very easy to score with 10 man indside the box? And a timewasting of such extent. I have never seen a keeper booked for time wasting in the first 40 minutes.
Not every time the best team wins. But they don't Lose often either.

Posted by Jordi on 04/29/2010

Why would we need Fabregas? What we need is a world-class striker who understands the game. We had one in Eto'o, but Guardiola decided to replace him with that overrated Ibraimovic. Looking at the bench and seeing that the team's two other only attacking options, an unproven youngster such as Bojan and a veteran well past his peak such as Henry, one wonders where has all the money spent these past few years gone. Until you realize it has gone to buy Chygrynskiy, Keita, Caceres or Maxwell, none of whom is better than the players we have on our B team.

Posted by tb1964 on 04/29/2010

Barcelona has won 6 titles and dominates every team they play, including Inter with a 1-0 victory and a goal called back and suddenly a reporter decides they are woeful. Worse, the most ill-behaved provocative coach COMPLAINS about respectful play and behavior - how ridiculous is that? This after being awarded a third goal offsides at home and having one called back for the opposing team on the road - come on - wake up and learn a bit more about football and the way it can be played with beauty and with style and in an entertaining fashion - not defending with 10 or 11 men in your own box.

Posted by Jamlick on 04/29/2010

I totally agree with Carter, there should be indeed a plan B for every team. It is sad to hear Barca fans and entire camp saying Jose used anti-football tactics. As a team from 'Mars' with incredible talents Barca should go back to acadamey if not school to be shown how to overcome a 10 man great Inters. Again they lacked discipline and their agony was well unswered by the only man living with his tactics,promises and delivery. Pep should agree that he faulted selling Eto and they need luck to sail thro'. Well played Jose and your great army, Go! Go! inter.

Posted by kokakopi on 04/29/2010

well, when barca win, everyone regard they as a world best team.. no matter what..but, when they lost, everyone keep blaming coach, players & etc. well, as a barca fans, i am proud of this team no matter what.. ibra, pep, messi & co did a very good job.. the thing is, last nite the 'lady luck' is far away from them... i do belive that, in football, 70% skill 30% is luck.. and the luck is too far from camp nou... see u next year pep, messi & co...

Posted by Neil on 04/29/2010

Jose is just there greatest coach alive now. He delivers what he promises. Approach every game as a final in crunch time and secondly he develops his players confidence so high that he makes them believe they are the best players in their positions so they work hard on the field to show that Hats off to Maurinho u d best

Posted by kidaz on 04/29/2010

i dont think it will be okay for Barca to win all the matches for this game to be entertaining you should win some and lose some

Posted by Carol David on 04/29/2010

The sale of Eto'o to Inter and the bringing in of Ibrahimovic killed the fast attacking prowess of Barca. Eto'o is faster than Ibra by far and also he is able to drop deep to pick up the ball. Pep's biggest mistake was to sell him and bring in Ibra.

I'm still puzzled why he left an experienced player like Henry on the bench for youngsters.Henry would have buried that header which Bojan missed with the goal at his mercy

Posted by Mange Nzela on 04/29/2010

the world have witnessed the best tactician coach. Inter players were keen on instruction from their coach, actually i doubted the quality of barca, they only win at home, Messi also proving to be great at Nou camp and not away groung,for a best team and player always do suprise anywhere and prove that their are good. let barca go tola liga to learn something special on football. Be great team by winning at home and away. Let us wait 22nd May for entertaining final at Barnebeu.

Posted by Mange Nzela on 04/29/2010

the world have witnessed the best tactician coach. Inter players were keen on instruction from their coach, actually i doubted the quality of barca, they only win at home, Messi also proving to be great at Nou camp and not away groung,for a best team and player always do suprise anywhere and prove that their are good. let barca go tola liga to learn something special on football. Be great team by winning at home and away. Let us wait 22nd May for entertaining final at Barnebeu.

Posted by anthonyxv on 04/29/2010

for all intent and purpose, I have to say Barca were just unlucky. Krkic's disallowed goal, was indeed a handball involved. I agree Etoo's transfer was a mistake, although the thought was in the right direction (having someone with a physical presence and technical ability to be a threat around the box, was why Ibra was brought on). Xavi was just off, on a day they really needed him to be in fine form...there were many instances Dani Alves was primed for a through pass from midfield, it never materialized. Iniesta was sorely missed. It seemed Barca simply lacked imagination at Inter's gate. Something we all know they have in abundance. There was also a serious sense of panic, something we haven't seen before (explains the errant crosses, passes and long range shooting). Hats off to Mourinho...

Posted by Muzi Mbutho (South Africa) on 04/29/2010

Well done Inter!!! Some of us easily shifted our support from Barca to Inter in this semi-final because Guardiola egotistically sold Eto'o. It was for no footballing reason at all. Interestingly, he wanted Eto'o out even before the start of his very first season as coach. And Ironically Eto'o gave him load of goals in his first season, including one in the EUFA final against Man Utd, which helped him win trophies. Yet he went on to off-load the great Eto'o in exchange for the now ineffective Ibrahimovic.

With Eto'o beating Ibrahimovic, chickens are coming home to roost for Guardiola. It's a medical dose that Guardiola prescribed for himself. It's exactly what the doctor what the doctor ordered, as they say.

I hope Inter go on to win against Bayern. And as Eto'o has done in the previous two finals for Barca, I hope he scores.

Congrats Inter!!!

Posted by Jamaal on 04/29/2010

Nice article, jose mourinho must go down in history as one of the best tactican there ever waz. Barca nice try n messi showed class bt luck wasnt on their side. Congrats inter

Posted by Sam on 04/29/2010

I just really want to say how dissapointing Ibra has been in the UCL. Samuel Eto'o did so much for Barcelona wand won many titles with them but for some reason Barca sold him for some tool who gets one touch per match and wears a shoelace on his head! Also i reckon that with such players like Pedro, Messi, Xavi and the rest, Barcelona should not be diving. I am a fan of this club but i can clearly see that some Barca players are exaggerating things e.g. Dani Alves. Also congrats to Inter for the win.

Posted by Sonny on 04/29/2010

All the anti-football world is celebrating tonight in wake of Barca's ousting. Comments like pretty boys and passes are thrown around just like when Arsenal loses. Alas, as your article demands, there is a need for plan B.
Even if Ibrahimovic was left on to be joined by Pique for services from the wings and the result stayed the same, Barca would have been laughed off as abandoning their principles due to panic. When the other team packs its box with 11 players, plus your own 5,6 or 7, there is no room for plan B except major luck of a deflection, or referee calling legitimate free kicks in and around the area. Such luck almost came off with Barca's disallowed 2nd goal. Almost from a lucky rebound no less!!!Not some major plan B.You all continue to encourage such negativity and a few years from now, FIFA would be forced into another round of rules modifications to save football as happened in past years, when the 'efficient' Italian and German teams were wining the World cup.

Posted by wilber on 04/29/2010

Mourinho is the 'best manager' in the world. He knows how to get results in difficult circumstances.

Posted by Godfrey on 04/29/2010

Not only a Plan B can save Barcelona, they will consistently need the help of a defficient referee to help them win games regularly. Vide Chelsea v Barcelona in last year's semis and the red card in this year's as well! Congrats Internazionale!

Posted by Eluozo christian on 04/29/2010

Barca were a lucky team forget their style of play? Their away form is pretty bad, last year they could not beat, lyon, bayern & chelsea @ away. This year they draw @ stuttgart and a weak arsenal team. When messi scored against a weak team stuttgart, arsenal, & zaragoza they said he is the greatest player. What makes him great, he was useless against chelsea, & liverpool. The final against man utd he waz useless in the game, iniesta waz the chief engineer in the final, and the goal he scored he waz unmarked. Now u can see against a stiffer opposition he waz useless... He hasn't won copa american yet, nor the world cup in the big stage. All this journalist don know anything about the game. Lucio, & busquet was diving yestarday... C ronaldo is a far better player than him, fast, great short, dangerous in set piece, good free kick taker. Only thing messi do is to run with the ball with is left foot with high speed... Ronaldo has a better foot both right and left. So people should know that the way messi waz with barca last year waz the way ronaldo was wit utd when utd triumph in moscow. Also ronaldo played two final in a row scoring important goal against inter, porto and arsenal apart 4rm the final. Ronaldo record speaks 4 him. The chief architect that won the c league 4 barca last year waz iniesta... Spanish media hype messi so mech as if he is not a human, ronaldo has finally arrive in spain & both hasn't won a trophy yet? Inter show a class, but it might be difficult 4 them if bayern did not upset man utd. I would go 4 inter since all formal winner has won it in current campaign including inter? Robben we be kept quiet in the final, & bayern centre are weak... Love y'all football fan?

Posted by abmu on 04/29/2010

I watched the TV slow motion of the foul to Sergio which resulted in the Motta red card- you could see that Sergio Busquets was not even sure where to touch. he first touched the right jhand side of the face, then he goes to the second and finaly closes his face. if you push the clip slowly, yu will see that whilst on the ground he peeps to see wats happening on the fielding and realising a red card he closes the face again and rolling as if in agony. I WISH IF UEFA COULD FINE HIM OR AT LEAST GIVE SOME MATCH BAN FOR FAKING A FOUL.

Posted by STIX on 04/29/2010

When the champions’ league began, I had tipped Utd, Chelsea and Barca to win it. Jose has put to rest my predictions! What a blunt team Barca is! For all the praises that have been sung, they failed to show any imagination yesterday. They were supposed to use crosses instead of trying to penetrate in the centre. They had height in Zlatan and Toure. If they had sent many crosses, Inter could have made mistakes. When the ball is high up there mistakes are bound to happen. They lost the plot, Inter dealt with their lack of plan B very well. Barca are not as invincible as we thought them to be. If an English team were playing that game, they could have won it hands down. Even Barca’s shooting from range was pathetic. I back the Special One to mastermind another historic win in Madrid next month. As for the La Liga, its gonna be very close, although I think Barca will win it.
Big up to the Special One, good or bad, he achieved his objective to play at the Bernabeu on May 22.

Posted by Dimson on 04/29/2010

the only coach that can beat this berca team is Jose Mourinho, this man is special indeed. just like a Japanise proverb that said: An army of Sheeps lead by a Lion will defeat an army of Lions lead by a sheet. Inter team is sheep but lead by a Lion Jose Mourinho......

Posted by Chiby on 04/29/2010

Indeed, Barca need plan B and even Plan C! Im sorry but Pep Guardiola is just the same as Del tactical knowledge but blessed with an abundance of talent that have made these two coaches look like great coaches. In my humble opinion, Mourinho, Van Haal, Hiddink and ferguson are currenlty the best coaches in world football. Good game INTER!

Posted by Bewaji Tosin on 04/29/2010

This kind of analysis jst shows how shallow-minded and hypocritical u so-called football analysts are. I can bet u wld av bestowed praises on Guardiola and ow tactical he and his men were had bojan's injury time goal not caught d hands of Yaya. D man is not a god so it's not a managerial sin if he loses marginally dis time. FYI,i'm a real-madrid and die-hard jose mourinho fan but i jst like being real. i still pray barca loses d la-liga title but they are still d world best,though i agree dat selling eto for ibra was a blunder.

Posted by Richard on 04/29/2010

At the end of the day, the writer has a point, but when it came down to it at the end of the game, Barcelona's tactics still pulled them back to 3-2 and then they scored what I would consider a perfectly legitimate goal through Bojan. This would have sent them through on away goals, of course.

No mention of this at all, surprisingly.

Posted by nizam on 04/29/2010

Barca had make mistake to sell eto'o and buy ibrahimovic..It is because they played simple,quick and short passing is suitable for eto'o..for ibrahimovic, he suitable for long and crossing passing games..thats why barcelona had lose..i think pep guardiola should buy one striker who suitable with their games..or one winger thats have good crossing like beckham

Posted by feel heat on 04/29/2010

barca should look another striker and creative player...
david villa probably, ibra is creative but not in spain, he not suitable in guardiola playing style & not capable to do what has eto'o did in nou camp when he is barca player... david villa is the right man to replace eto'o at all, not ibra...
guardiola should bring in players like fabregas, joao moutinho, modric & d.silva- they are kind of players who can replace iniesta when he is not in action & they are the creative midfield who can help xavi to control the possession of ball in midfield not s.keita & yaya toure who had waste a lot of chances during the game with inter...
but BARCA still da best in the world...
surely LA LIGA can only land by guardiola men's this season, MES QUE UN CLUB...

Posted by EMMANUEL on 04/29/2010

I comment Inter today for their tenacity in defence, especially Lucio and samuel which is a pointer to the world cup that if you can get a best defence and better plan you can win match. Barcelona had been expose and it times other like my Utd learn from this match how to beat attacking side. It also shows that Mourinho is far superior tactically than Pep Gurndiola. But hence Barca must be reassure that next time Mourinho will visit Nou Camp will be disaster for the fan because this had embolden him. Inspite of all odds he still triumph.Up Mourinho, down Barca but ManUtd will remain until God comes.

Posted by Phineas on 04/29/2010

Eto was the difference, and in mourinho inter has the best coach in the world. Football is not won ball the number of passes you make but by putting the ball at the back of the net. If Eto was playing for Barca yesterday they would be in the final. You were the hero in Barca's two finals and you will the hero for Inter on May 22.

Posted by Thomas on 04/29/2010

While I don't doubt that is a good analysis, it needs to be read bearing in mind that we are analysing probably one of the best teams in the world for many years. That is, it is a critical analysis with the aim of making the team even greater but it can no way be to say that it is anything but.

Having said all the above, I can now add my five cents worth. Letting Eto go was unfortunate and bad for Barca, but admittedly he wanted to go because he was being given a hard time by his own fans. The fans' own doing and Pep had no choice really if Eto wanted to go.

Posted by Oladipupo on 04/29/2010

This is great! Barca pay for their unpatriotism. They dismiss Etoo a man that gave tham there last 2 champions league trophy without respect, they dont even sold him but dash him out for free and even add money on top to get Ibrahimovich, inglorious set of people, Barca will win nothing, Nemesis have started catching up with you people, let Messi give them the trophy since he is superhuman,now you know the value of what you lost. Up Etooo, down Barca

Posted by vijay on 04/29/2010

Huh.. what Plan B? If Barca hadnt created any chances during the game, then I would have agreed. Such a thin line if Barca's 2nd goal had stood.
People would have been raving, victory of playing football the right way.. blah blah blah.

You have to give credit to the incredible defense, organisation of Inter.

Posted by Afam Ikwuagwu on 04/29/2010

Barca won 6 trophies not bcos pep was gud but he relies on individual brilliance,he lost it in the 1st leg with toure on the bench & barca needing a physical presence to shield the back 4.Pep has confirmed he rode on luck last year.How come he sold eto who is a proven goal scoring machine.Pep is out to destroy barca, how come yaya that was not gud in the 1st leg became the lastman in the 2nd even with marques,chegrynsky,milito, around,how come henry with his experience was overlooked for jeffren in a desperate come Pep has closed an eye over barca weak link valdes and quick to offload eto.zlatan for 40mEuros + eto, yet was substituted twice in both legs for bojan an infant.barca board shld rise and stop Pep from destroying barca and their fans.last season eto+henry+messi produced over 100 goals btw them yet a sane coach like pep decided to destroy that strike force for selfish reason.with 10 men for 60 minutes yet he could not devise a plan but sat & waited for messi's magic.

Posted by muniir ndawula on 04/29/2010

the ref was biased all the way thy was no fiarness to mourinhos side at all the ref should be punished or banned

Posted by Victor Martins on 04/29/2010

This is the greatest game of all time.Inter showed that the got what it take to be in the final match and also the barca fans will see what the lose in the place of Eto'o and the money invovle in the deal.Secondly the red card of the game should have be a winning point for barca but do not make very good use it show that the have so many thing to learn from the SEPCIAL ONE Jose.Inter defend so well and attack when needed.Barca should begin now to look for a better replacement for Eto'o because €40 million+ man Zlatan Ibrahimovic cannot do work he is doing in the team.The two games betwwen Inter and Barcelona showed that there true engineer is Iniesta.Without him in the middle there was no creativity and to be honest Guardiola didnt know what to do. Guardiola has a lot to learn he only looks good because of great individual players but he must go back and learn from Mourinho.A Plan B is definitely required. Great coaches can stop any Plan A (as Mourinho showed and Hiddink did last year.

Posted by Holybugs on 04/29/2010

Mourinho is truly the special one, Inter the difference. Barca should learn how to play soccer (not football) and there coach is still a baby.
Forza Inter !!!

Posted by goaner on 04/29/2010

that is absoulutly spot on, it was a big mistake selling eto'o, if we look at etos performance, his defensive work in both legs and not to forget he set up two goals.

Posted by Charles Anajemba on 04/29/2010

I watched a football classic last night,the best attack minded coach vs the best defense minded coach,guess who came out tops......the attack strategy won,score-line 1-0,disregard the aggregate goals in use for champions league to appreciate the game last night.I love barcelona as a fluid attacking team,they have the best mid-fielder-xavi,the best forward-messi and some unsong heroes at the defense line and flanks.I admire the genius of Mourinho,the day Arsenal lost to barca i said Mourinho (not inter) will be at the finals.

Posted by Hardik on 04/29/2010

I honestly feel, Murinho is the coaching CHRIST. No matter what team he has, what kind of players he has, Murinho knows only one thing, to get his job done. He did it with porto, with chelsea (though he couldnt win cl, but thats coz lack of support from the owner), and now inter. HAIL MURINHO !

Posted by Okechukwu on 04/29/2010

WE can criticize Pep and Barcelona as much as we like but the truth is sometimes, luck runs out. One more goal and it would have been a different story. How easy it is to forget the two penalties denied Chelsea last year in the match with Barcelona.Pure luck saw them progress from that match and went to win 6 trophies last season. Football is tricky. This one match does not mean Barca and Pep are bad. They only lost to a greater tactician on the night. I love Jose and will always support any team he coaches.He is my favourite for all times. But Barcelona is a proven system of success beyond a coach. They will bounce back.

Posted by domi7 on 04/29/2010

I agree with you,barca really need a plan b and i think the two games against inter just showed how much iniesta is important to them.But i must say that i am a bit disappointed with messi,i believe that great players should rise to the occassion in matche like these,but for me,messi still has a long way to go to be the worlds greatest ever...

Posted by Zman on 04/29/2010

utter rubbish Inter had a clear offside in the first game that counted and a correct goal disallowed in the 2nd game while not having a single shot on goal! what was Mourinho plan B if the Barca's 2nd goal stood?

Posted by opio emmanuel on 04/29/2010

let me tell u the truth, an addition of fabregas cant change any thing in barcelona reason being fabregas shoots from out side eighteen wen in premier league bt when he goes to barcelona he has to adapt to barcelona's ball passing than shooting.if he shoots he will b benched

Posted by Harricentric on 04/29/2010

Sticking to a particular attacking style of play have in recent seasons helped Barcelona,but against Inter, that was our bane. Yeah, a large chunk of the criticisms is deservedly right for Pep whose tactical rigidity was his undoing, but the players should have called their discretions into play by resorting to shots(Yaya Toure's mischiefs not inclusive)once they got to close to the box 18 since their pretty passing game was not crumbling the Inter defence.

Posted by westside gunner on 04/29/2010

Pep had the best strike force on Earth last year. For some reason he decided to fix what wasn't broken and it didn't work out this year. I also think he gave up on Henry too quickly. With Iniesta and Abidal hurt a lot, the feeding of the ball to Henry's side has suffered all year. Next year Henry will be gone and maybe (hopefully) Ibra also in favor of David Villa. I for one never understood the logic of sending Eto'o and 68million anywhere for anybody. Eto'o almost won the pichichi and was a proven big match performer. If anything that should have been an even swap. Otherwise, I would have just let him go on a free after this season and broken the bank for David Villa. Pep used a lot of "credibility capital" when he made that move. It did not work out and now the world will have to wonder if they could've repeated and become the best side in European history. I think they would've repeated.

Posted by Fred B.Kyeremeh on 04/29/2010

Great article.Spot on delivery.Barca's luck was used against Chelsea last season by the kind courtesy of Referee Ovrebo.It was not to be this time.Barca's weaknesses were once again brought to the fore.I believe such tactics employed by Jose and Hiddink(last season) have proven to be Barca's enemies.Jose has once more proven that fanciful football do not always win trophies,results matter the most.
A Bayern-Inter final reunites Van Gaal and Mourinho,otherwise master vs Apprentice.I have great respect for Van Gaal but I believe Jose has learnt beyond what he studied under him.Go Inter,Go Mourinho.Abramovich can only watch and curse his stars for allowing Jose to go.Chelsea's loss,Inter's gain.

Posted by k.o.k on 04/29/2010

I would give a lot just to know what was going on in the mind of Roman Abramovich when Inter defeated Barca. Especially, when The Special One was celebrating their victory.

Look at the man who not only lifted chelsea to their greatest hight but also helped to make English football more competetive.

Just as we say that the sale of Eto by Pep was a wrong choice, allowing Jose to go by mutual consent, or whatever they wanted us to believe, was a very bad decision.

I'm a chelsea fan who strongly believes in chelsea fc. However, I hope Abramovich will learn from this and stop sacking coaches.

After Barca's game against chelsea last season, any good coach should know that barca and Pep do not have plan B.

I strongly believe that Inter will go ahead and win the trophy. The final has already been played between Inter and Barca. Not even Bayern could have defeated Barca and they know that.

Winning trophy will confirm Jose as the SPECIAL ONE.And that's the way it's gonna be.

Posted by pensacola on 04/29/2010

As an Inter fan I never really liked Ibra..he was wierd..he lived in Milan for two years and never went anywhere just training and then home.
About the game now..Wow... Forza Inter. Beautiful defence sorry we couldn`t attack more but I truly think the red card helped us organize more.
Its 3 am and I still cant sleep ..I cantbelieve it...We did it...Thank you Zaneti for not getting a yellow card..After 600 games you played for Iner you deserved to play in the final more than any body.God bless Inter and all their fans.

Posted by mzam on 04/29/2010

surely Pep...why did you have to let Eto'o go???????....from yesterdays game and other before, l don't see any reason why you had to sell him....

Posted by thekaz on 04/29/2010

I dont want to play the racist card but the prolific eto and the classy swede? busquets and yaya toure, jefren/pedro Vs henry. imean it would take a rocket scientist to define wats happening here shameful Truly shameful

Posted by victor edoziem on 04/29/2010


Posted by martins on 04/29/2010

am a chelsea fan, i love what happened and i feel so happy and i sleep very well last night, jose makes everybody around him very happy, you can never lost the money you are paying him as a coach, jose can never make you feel unhappy, so tell me why you will not suport him and be happy alltime, he is the man in the football, all i want now is for him to win the cup, so that the whole club will be looking for him, i love this man really i do, please if you can see him tell him i love him somuch,

Posted by Inno on 04/29/2010

Excellent analyses guys.The truth Barca & Arsenal do not have plan B.This is where tacticians such as Mourinho are come in handy and it made the difference yersterday.Eto is a talisman ,you can not afford to lose such goal poachers.I agree Barca could have won with Eto.The inter defence is Super.Its for all to see that Brazilians are World cup favourites

Posted by etyang on 04/29/2010


Posted by Sambollah on 04/29/2010

It is ok for Barca. To show that they were not capable to have won the last championship when the referee cheated a lot for them in the last season semi final against Chelsea. Let them carry world best, best playing team what ever the title may be, but they can not carry EUFA.

Posted by Edu okafor on 04/29/2010

This analysis really dissected barca. Kudos to d writer!

Posted by etyang on 04/29/2010


Posted by Filomeno Soares on 04/29/2010

I am very sad that Barcelona could not make it through. But at the other hand, it is José Mourinho who put every plan together to beat Barcelona. Thank you Mourinho, You save my betting.

Posted by Chidi on 04/29/2010

Barca is a good team anytime any day whether plan B or not but they should learn to be good losers, stop diving and play acting. Winning should not be an obsession but a priviledge. Meanwhile, Inter won the match on the first leg - CONGRATULATIONS

Posted by nino on 04/29/2010

Good article...Inter Milan are an italian club with no italians on the pitch...I reckon Jose does it on purpose just to wind up the italian press.......its all about him,but thats why hes so good,amazing self confidence and ability,...although successful Ferguson isnt in his league,over the years United have lost so many titles home and away due to a dodgy defensive tactics,just ask Bayen Munich..Utd is a poison chalice for Mourinho, he should coach Real next just to upset Barca even more !!!..Final isnt won yet..remember Van Gaal was one of his tutors,has won it before and will relish the challenge.

Posted by kodoshe on 04/29/2010

ooh poor brats, you thought you were such a special club..eeh..a special messiah or messi who ever u call him ..and forgetting another special morinho.iam happy you were given your own medicine at the right time.thumps up to morinho for punishing 'em.

Posted by BeeJay on 04/29/2010

I gues Guardiola has learnt a lesson. 'Never Mess up with your best players unless you are Sir Alex Ferguson' who has done it but yet successful. Letting Eto'o go was a mistake of a lifetime

Posted by Idadi on 04/29/2010

As Chelsea fan, i congraturate Inter and the special one. Big u Mourinho. Barca always depend on Ref. as like last year to Chelsea.!!

Wow, inter. now go and lift the trophy!!

Posted by Emmanuel on 04/29/2010

Just want to say that Barca is full of actors and cheats which was demonstrated in the red card.But am glad that their strategy failed this time.Jose is unarguably the best coach in the world, and i hope that Mr Abrahimovich of chelsea has learnt his lesson cause it could have been Chelsea winning for the 2nd or 3rd time with jose.Congrats Jose!

Posted by marc on 04/29/2010

We've all become Managers,but pep had a plan to draw out the inter defense by playing Messi deep as a decoy feeding Bojan and co, he used Bojan and Jeff because they put a lot of work on the pitch, Henry does not track back, but as the going goes no team has ever won it back to back, had Barca made the final, they'd have won it..jinx stays intact, i wonder how inter will look next season, Mourinho is okay not a master, he should've won champ league for chelsea for all the time he spent there and Money they had, there's something more to this trophy.

Posted by Konkala on 04/29/2010

I like AjanleKoko's comments. It is difficult to believe that someone would want to make the whole world believe Barca are horrible in attack. Please tell me, which team can ever have it that easy playing against a ten man Italian defense. This is a huge challenge, yet the writer totally ignores that fact. What will become of the beautiful game if every week football lovers are made to watch a game like this; one team putting all its men in attack and the other all in defense. Please tell me. Thank God there are a number of Managers, except Mourinho, who will never play this kind of game. These are brave managers and teams like Man U, Arsenal, Real Madrid and many other great team that will never ever play this kind of game.

Posted by semlek rawlings on 04/29/2010

pep guirdiola just showd d world dt he won d champs league last season coz he had gr8 players already on ground and has just showd the world his inability to tactically draw out hunger from them,is guidiola angry @ henry coz he qualified his country 4 d WC wit a handed asist? pep shud wake up, 4 thiagos red card,d refs in europe av change d coz of so many games wit blunders,drogbas red against inter was drawn by d same victim ystday!y cry foul?its futbal.

Posted by fredo on 04/29/2010

They were simply obsessed and over confident about the final in madrid, they expected an easy all the way thru, after thrashing Arsenal like kids , but the tactician mourinho has show teams like Arsenal how to beat the beast, congs to Inter,
Win it

Posted by Abraham on 04/29/2010

If Bojan's goal had been allowed, this conversation about barca having only one style of play won't be brought up.

The Barca players let the pressure get to them; they were very capable of winning that game with or without Eto. They made chances, irrespective of Inter's defending.

Credit to mourinho for preparing his team well, they executed his plan well. He has an uncanny way of drawing all attention to himself but he's not the one who plays on the field.

Posted by bugendi Josph on 04/29/2010

Barca desreved to loose the game as they left out on the bench a precious and experienced player (Thiery Henry) who could change the attacking style for Barca who last night seemed to have lacked alternative tactics to pass through Inte defence.
It is then a lesson for defending champions that a bird in hand worth ten in the bush, why did they throw away Etoo on racist basis ambrasing Ibra who has proved unproductive?

Posted by Matt on 04/29/2010

Act with Class? inter hardly acted with class, anytime barca got the ball an inter player went down with a head injury knowing the ref would have to stop play - thats hardly acting with class

anyway I always think we overact a bit in these situations, barca went out but should have had a penalty in the first leg, had a goal incorrectly ruled out and inter scored a goal which should have been ruled out, Inter played v.well but this (and bayerns progression) shows that to win a tournemount like the champions league you need both skill and luck - barca had this last year...this year they upped the skills but lost the luck

Looking forward to the final mind

Posted by Paul N on 04/29/2010

If anyone has taken time to read all the responses people are posting to this masterpiece, well written and spot-on article, it is really really interesting to learn that football is much more than just a lovely, beautiful game that unites the world.

To be considered to great team, I believe you should be able to overcome the toughest hardships football can ever put infront of any team - just as the case was in the Barca-Inter match. I'll say that inter is great team for having been able to overcome the toughest of tests any football team in the world today would have had, and they managed to be successful and with a man down.

And to Barca, I think they now need to re-assess their weaknesses i.e. overcoming a very defensively strong team like Inter and others such as drawing a line between emotions and focus.

Truth to be told, whether a barca fan or not, from last night's game, barcelona do need to have not only a plan B but also a C, D, E, etc

Congratulations Inter and Jose.

Posted by Sta on 04/29/2010

Yes i agree with you guys, Jose is very clever for sure, he just lucks players to support that, but now with Etoo you wil tell me, yesterday Jose proved to the world that he is more than a couch tactically,mentally two things more important than food in football, I was not inter's fan before but now i am. Viva Jose morinho viva

Posted by Bwayo on 04/29/2010

Iam happy for Barca's loss for 3 reasons; 1. when it beat Arsenal 4-1 every body praised them as if it was the first team to beat another by 4 goals or whether Messi was the first and last player to score 4 goals. Remember Arsenal was seriuosely hit by injuries. 2. After all wat E'to had done for Barca they treated him like cabbage by giving him away as if he had no value. 3. The way Henry has been treated is as if he nolonger has legs to play football. Every kindergaten player is often before him. I think Barca should respect players. I hop they even loose the La Liga so as to understand the value of some players.

Posted by Udaya Anthony on 04/29/2010

What I saw yesterday was a case of technical prowess. Inters Coach proved to everyone that in any game what really matters is not just the players alone but the coach's technical no-how(the ability to understand your opponent and the modalities to counter them). He has really proved to the world that he is 'the Special One'. Congrat Inters.

Posted by alice on 04/29/2010

Really good analysis, the peps overlooking for thiery henry will cost him, mind you that the guy is an experienced player bse he won the worldcup the euro the PL and other cups, so he was the important person that day but putting the little boy bojan and suerez is like arsene wenger 's mess ups, congrat to the special one for transfering the tactics to his players!! bravo inter , my blessing in the final !!

Posted by Bwayo on 04/29/2010

Iam happy for Barca's loss for 3 reasons; 1. when it beat Arsenal 4-1 every body praised them as if it was the first team to beat another by 4 goals or whether Messi was the first and last player to score 4 goals. Remember Arsenal was seriuosely hit by injuries. 2. After all wat E'to had done for Barca they treated him like cabbage by giving him away as if he had no value. 3. The way Henry has been treated is as if he nolonger has legs to play football. Every kindergaten player is often before him. I think Barca should respect players. I hop they even loose the La Liga so as to understand the value of some players.

Posted by Filip on 04/29/2010

Jon, don't want to be rude, but maybe you weren't following the game as close as you wanted to. Plan A was a combination of pretty passing and crosses into the penalty with Ibra providing the muscle. That did not work for 65 minutes. Plan B was to get the quicker guys in the middle and out with Jeffren and Bojan, hoping that the older Inter players would tire. Plan C, the desperation plan, was to get the backline in (Pique and Toure) and pray for breaks. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out. The hardest thing to do in soccer is to score two goals against a well organized defensive squad...that is a man down and does not need to score. Well played by both sides. See, that was not too hard to accentuate.

Posted by itai albert on 04/29/2010

i am a Barca'c fan but would lyk to congratulate Mourinho foe the victory he had last has always been the norm that if a team loses,blamegames are inevitable as someone just said it right when he said,"in victory yu hev got no enemy and in defeat a lot of enemies just sprung up in their millions as if their so-called super plans would work even if they were given the chance.Bad luck for Barca ,Inter played very well, lets just learn to accept reality sometimes.

Posted by CamCam the Barca fan on 04/29/2010

I don't know why everyone is bad mouthing Ibra. Then man led the Serie A in scoring for the last 3 years, on a team that won the Serie A for the last 3 years. Eto'o was sold because he was a cancer in the Barca locker room. A straight swap of two of the best strikers in the world has proven beneficial for both teams. Ibra and Eto'o have scored many goals in their respective leagues and both are a contributing factor for their squad.
As for the game Barca were beaten by a flawless defense deployed by a masterful tactician. If the game were played in 2 weeks and Inter had 11 men then who knows what would happen. Both teams had their chances in this two legged tie but Inter came out on top. Hats off to Mourinho's Inter.

Posted by Jordi on 04/29/2010

I disagree with Carter. This Barcelona team has lost only 3 games this season. One of them last week against inter in the only loss by 2 goals difference in all Pep Guardiola's time as coach. Inter yesterday played great defense and we only missed Iniesta (absent), Messi (is he so good?) and Henry (his mind is elsewhere). Etto is forgotten and it was not the match for Ibrahimovic, not used to play against 10 pure defenders. Congratulations for Inter; though I am sure Barcelona will be among the best in Europe for a longer time than Inter will (just look at the age & mentality of the players).

Posted by abbey lowa on 04/29/2010

I know my man,JM would lift the trophy for Moratti and let unbeliever like Abram knows how great and achiever he is if given all the freedom and rest of mind to work on stable and conducive atmosphere.If sacking JM would bring you CL,then you should have won it but Moratti would appreciate him,brought him in with so much faith in him,and now he has delivered.Why do you send him your newly and costly acquired FERRARI,if you don't want him back? Abram,pls swallow your pride and go on facebook pleading to JM to come back home(CHELSEA).I know he will win it for us too.

Posted by d selector on 04/29/2010

he is simply the best!

Posted by ugochukwu on 04/29/2010

I have always believed in morinho. i knew he will get to final. if not for the controvercial red card, inter would have won. inter was simply the better side this season. they are just too much for barca.

Posted by frank on 04/29/2010

my dear friends barca is the best tem in this world they misteka from way match against Iter that is where the misteka from but they play as big tem as they are, i want them to to go won La Liga

Posted by Ineh on 04/29/2010

...If Eto'o was in Barca, I believe they would have done greater things this season. I cannot fathom why a player that has been consistent in goal scoring be sold off. Besides with the quality of the Barca players, we cannot tell how good a coach Pep is. From six trophies to possibly none.

Posted by Daniel Adjai on 04/29/2010

Plan B? Of course. That is what makes one a better Coach, and Mourinho has shown that consistently. He reads the game and adopts the right plan to match his opponent and gets the results.

Whose name is ringing the bell in Europe now? Jose Mourinho or Abramovich ....

Posted by balls on 04/29/2010

I really agree with you, the problem with great attacking sides is the lack of plan B, and i seriously feel Pep made a hude mistake by removing Ibra, even if he was not playing well. he could have brought on Bojan to add more pep to the attack and leaving Henry out agajn was his greatest undoing. Selling Eto will forever hunt him. Guess he would learn from this mistakes. Lets go Barca

Posted by Tawanda on 04/29/2010

Etoo for life. The way Etoo was releases at Barca smacks of racism. He is the best player in that position and Barca knows that all too well

Posted by azhar on 04/29/2010

inter shoudnt be over confident bayern they have a team that has a never say die attitude.. also bayern is much much more physical than barca....

Posted by John Eston on 04/29/2010

No need for deep analysis. Some you win and some you lose. Nothing more and nothing less. Congratulations to both teams.

Posted by CHARLES on 04/29/2010

I do not agree with Plan B for a team like Barca.
What missed for Barca was just luck and sharpness.
Any team can have that and as well any team can be lucky not to consede.
Barca can play the same team and win on another day,thats my argument.

Posted by dkingsworthy on 04/29/2010

After the Motta red card DeBleecker was quite partial to Inter. The handball against Toure was the worst of many bad refereeing decisions - yes it touched his hand but his hand was in front of his chest - it didn't change the direction of the ball, which is very much the spirit of the handball rule.

Also I have to say, how can the handball foul get called when the player can't move his hand out of the way?! If Toure had had his hand out, it would have missed the ball, but he would have been in greater danger of committing a handball!

That said, Inter deserved the win, as Barca couldn't adapt enough to the well-organized bus in front of them. Did anyone else notice how, when Barca floated a couple of long-balls into the area, Inter were momentarily flustered? Surely they expected Barca not to abandon their ground-based passing/trickery style....and soon enough, Barca reverted back to it. Plan B? Yup they needed one last night!

Posted by Angy on 04/29/2010

Sudenly we have coaches from all over. Barca can't do this, Eto is bettel than Ibra, blah blah. Teams such as Barca, & Man U are called the best teams in the world because they play football the way it is suppose to be played.

These are the only two teams that can go anywhere in the world and play attacking football. Inter and Chelsea will never be the best teams, irrespective how many titles they win. Defensive football is suddenly seen as good tactics. What happened to scoring goals.

Posted by Bamiro Adeseye on 04/29/2010

it is good to know who the true special one is!Gurdiola is still an apprentice in the game of coaching.the luck they have against Chelsea fc last season have come back to hunt them.Come to think of it,any average coach would have been able to take Barcelona to that semi final level but it will take a special one to change tactics and formation when the need arises!!only time will tell for team that knocks ball around in the name of ball is about goals and trophy.sometime u have to play dirty to win and like Kenny Rogers said in his song Sometimes you need to fight to show that you are a man

Posted by AL on 04/29/2010

The defeat was a wakening call for Pep Guardiola, I thought he was pure lucky last year when his team won six trophies. He ride on the brilliance of his group of players for his success. A true great manager mold a team of ordinary players and make them champion, just like Mourinho to Porto. The way Pep traded his players, choice of players starting and substitution, lack of different strategies for team with different style, lack of ability to read game and spot weaknesses of opponent team, show that he has a lot to learn. I hope one day he will truly become a great manager.

Posted by Albertus Keraryo on 04/29/2010

I think Inter deserves all the credits. They were determined to defend and ofcourse the assigment was nicely accomplished. Barca knew Inter was to defend but still lacked alternatives to break through, Well done Inter.

Posted by koko on 04/29/2010

most games can be won by the individual brilliance of the payers eg( barca and real madrid) but it takes a brilliant coach to win a great game eg( Mourinho and Hiddink).Jose is the symbol of modern football.Barca is blessed with talents but how good is guardiola?if given two options i would go for milan's leonardo rather than barca's Guardiola. i would never exchange Eto'o for a million Zlatan's

Posted by Sam on 04/29/2010

I just couldnt believe that Barca didnt just keep trying to get it to the byline and ping in low crosses, you would think with all the possession and territory one would eventually take a friendly deflection or fall to a Barca player who could put it in! Better than constantly passing it around the outside of the box! Eto'o for Ibra, one to one it is a close thing but considering Inter got 40 mil included, enough to buy both Milito and Sneijder then it is obvious who got the better deal.
Barca are a great team but need to include a bit of variety, it is all good complaining about other teams parking the bus but this is life. They need to be able to adjust. Jose constantly changes his tactics based on the situation. The other problem I have with them is their chronic diving, I mean Sergio to me is a poor player and his behaviour was outrageous, Alves is just as bad and should have been yellow carded for another dive in the box.

Posted by Tes on 04/29/2010

Good article, although I disagree with the assertion that Fabregas would have made a difference. When Barca decided to arrogantly dump ETO, I thought then that they would struggle to win big names. As flashy as Ibra may be, his goal scoring record in big games is atrocious. Eto in the other hand has scored big goals in big games. I am not an Inter fan but I am happy for Eto. Let this be a lesson to the other arrogant Spanish team.

Posted by Kess on 04/29/2010

Great article. I'm an Arsenal supporter and season after season we have to listen to criticisms that our free flowing football does not cut it when playing against teams that do not allow you room...and rightly so. It's true, Barca, like Arsenal, need a Plan B. No good side, especially one as defensively sound as Inter, is going to stand around in awe of Barca and just allow them room to play their fancy pants football. Defence and tactics are part of the game, otherwise every match would be nothing more than a goal fest. Congrats to Inter.

And selling Eto'o was a bad move right from the start. Ibra is La Liga's Berbatov, which is not a complement btw.

Posted by samvande2002 on 04/29/2010

good comments; eto'o is the really deal; u can't sell eto'o and buy ibra and hope that u lift trouphes! ibra is waste,is gabbage, is nothing compared to eto'o..eto'o knows what a striker has to do when it comes to scoring goals..when he is in front of the goal, he finishes the bussiness very well;ibra missed so many goals when barca played with arsenal in CL,from there i saw him useless! i think pep has some kind of segregations of african players irrespective of their ability.ibra is so fuck;much respect for jose as well as his ability to unite the team. i would rather pay my attribute to my afrikan hero eto'o;viva afrika, viva jose, viva inter..betting for inter to win the trouph in may 22;

Posted by Ish on 04/29/2010

Jon, you have thsi arguement spot on. Barcelona looked a lot like Arsenal in the second half- unable to find a way through. When they did get though, there was a hint of offside and then there was a handball.Pep was lost and had no idea what to do next. he has riidden on the strength of creative, hard workers like Eto'o who showed how hard a shift he can put in for the cause at left back!
I cannot picture Ibra doing anything of the sort. Inter's bookeepers are certainly smiling. Etoo, Milito and Sneijder in exchange for Ibra. Wonders never cease...

Posted by KILAVO on 04/29/2010

Thanks are simply the best in this business. You gave us a memorable joy last was not easy to create a strong team like determined, with a never say die attitude......This guy is really a special one..

Posted by Yahga on 04/29/2010

I thought that was a great analysis of the game. I think one of Barca's problem this year is the inclusion of Ibra; great player, great skills, but Eto was a machine. Ibra dwells on teh ball to long.

I thought the plan B was to stretch the defense by using width, and have Messi or Pedro take players one V one. This would draw defenders and create space. But coming down the middle of thepitch only meant that everyone just had to contain and close space.

Posted by Yahga on 04/29/2010

I thought that was a great analysis of the game. I think one of Barca's problem this year is the inclusion of Ibra; great player, great skills, but Eto was a machine. Ibra dwells on teh ball to long.

I thought the plan B was to stretch the defense by using width, and have Messi or Pedro take players one V one. This would draw defenders and create space. But coming down the middle of thepitch only meant that everyone just had to contain and close space.

Posted by John on 04/29/2010

Jose has proved that tactical is more important than beauty game.Well done Inter.

Posted by dag wenker on 04/29/2010

Isn't barcelona a better team this year than last? Other than the fact that pepe stated it himself, other statistics show it. More points in the league, less losses on all fronts. Messi scores a lot more goals too. And criticize ibra, but look at how many goals he scored compare to eto'o, in striker standards, you can't really say eto'o is a profit while ibra is not. who scored the only goal in the first el classico? who scored the two goals in the first leg at arsenal? for all it's worth, i think ibra pays his due. if you don't expect messi to show up to all games, why expect ibra then? and for the record, i don't think messi fares any better than ibra in the two ties against inter. Luck favors barca last year over a tough opponent, not this year. tough luck, but isn't that football?

Posted by Robinson on 04/29/2010


Posted by Poyepo Simoyan on 04/29/2010

I think everyone is getting a bit too carried away with Inter's triumph. The thing about a footballing philosophy is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt. At this level of the competition its not just about being a good team it comes down to the minor details such as having the big refereeing decisions go your way. Last season Barca had the luck against Chelsea but this season it deserted them. Bojan's goal shouldnt have been disallowed and Inter's third goal in the first leg shouldnt have counted. Congrats to Inter, i still feel that the present crop of Barca players still have at least one more Champions League triumph in them. Pep Guardiola is a good coach and i think people should stop referring to his debut season heroics as a fluke. He led a team which Rijkaard left in tatters to the most successful season in the history of club football.

Posted by the bruce on 04/29/2010

What everyone seems to also be discounting is Inter's 3-1 victory in the first leg. It was an education in counter attacking. Sure, they parked the bus in the second leg. Did they have much option? Anti football my arse. That red card was one of the softest I've ever seen. And Eto-o is an out and out finisher. That's all Barca missed in that game - someone to hang out in the box and put the ball in the net, whether it was a pretty goal or a garbage goal. Either way, I still prefer watching Barca play.

Posted by Roberto on 04/29/2010

Excellent analysis. What's interesting is that despite all the plaudits that Mr. Mourinho received for his safe, dull and predictable tactics, Barcelona would still have advanced by a 2-0 score if not for the erroneously disallowed goal by Bojan. Replays clearly showed that it was a 'chestball,' not a 'handball.' Such is the fine line between genius and the cynical promulgation of negative futbol.

Posted by Craig on 04/29/2010

Barca needed an experience man on the pitch. Pep was lost, Xavi was lost and Messi was lost. They faced a very experience side who know what they were doing and they all lost their head and play the same way they paled the Gunners. I'm so happy for Jose and the boys from Inter. They all will be smiling in Madrid next months.

Posted by Dan on 04/29/2010

Eto is a fine complimentary player but his absense certainly wasn't the problem for Barca last night.
It was the absense of that unassuming little chap Iniesta. Xavi looks like Butch Cassidy without the Sundance Kid when Iniesta's not in there.

Posted by Adamu on 04/29/2010

barcelona always go thru with the help of inconsistency from referee's and pep is not competent as a couch, he is just finishing frank Rickard work

Posted by Davy on 04/29/2010

Yea this is a great lesson to all those teams that considers themselves as big ones. Am a Manchester United fan, but big isn't sometimes big. So this is a great lesson.
BIG UP FOR MORINHO, not forgetting Bayern.

Posted by GANZBOI on 04/29/2010

Mourinho knows Inter inside-out.There are no basis for comparison between Etoo and Zlatan except for the colour of their skins...The Special One has avenged Chelsea's questionable loss to Barca last season.Jose would have gotten that result of last night with a 9-man Inter team.Nice write-up.

Posted by ghassan on 04/29/2010

barcelona still the best team with heads high, all this talk about they need this they need eto, they should've won more than two goals but they still won and so what they didnt make the final at least there heads held up high and inter milan will not win it its gonna be the germans, u cant always win it every year but at least they reached the semi and inter won by luck cuz of defense thats all no attack..

Posted by hot brunette girl on 06/26/2010

Truly nice article you got here. It would be great to read something more about this theme. Thanks for giving this data.

Amelia SMITH

  Post your comment
Email Address:
characters left
© ESPN Soccernet 2009