Ferguson scared of Barcelona trio Xavi, Messi, Iniesta

AFP, Tuesday 10 May 2011

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted Barcelona will not have it all their own way when they meet his Manchester United side in next month's Champions League final at Wembley.

Barceona stars
Messi, Xavi & Iniesta

While both teams are on the brink of winning their respective domestic titles it is Barcelona, who defeated United in the 2009 final, that are widely regarded as the pre-eminent club currently playing in Europe.

The Catalans boast the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, two key players in Spain's World Cup-winning side last year, while Lionel Messi is already being hailed as one of football's all-time greats.

"Everyone has acknowledged how great a team Barcelona are but Manchester United are in this final," Ferguson told US-based satellite radio station Sirius XM.

"Everyone has said this is not a good Manchester United team, that we are not this or that.

"But we have scored more goals than anyone else. Our home form has been magnificent. We are undefeated in Europe. We are in the Champions League final and we will win the league by getting one more point.

"You have to put all the criticism to one side because I have to be realistic when I look at my team and ask, 'Am I satisfied?'

"Those players have given me everything."

But Ferguson did not deny the scale of the task confronting United in European club football's showpiece match.

"Obviously, Barcelona is the big one now," he said.

"In the final last time we started off really well, then gave away a bad goal. After that Barcelona kept the ball very well, as they always do.

"What we have to do is find a solution to the Xavi-Messi-Iniesta problem.

"Everyone is searching for that because they are outstanding footballers. We have our share too.

"We have players who can cause any team a lot of bother and hopefully those attacking players will give Barcelona problems that everyone thinks they are going to give us."

Turning to domestic matters Ferguson expressed his "shock" at reports that Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti would be sacked at the end of the season despite winning a league and FA Cup double with the London club last term.

Chelsea's last hopes of a trophy this season all but disappeared when they were beaten 2-1 by United on Sunday leaving the victors requiring just a point from their final two matches to regain the title.

"It would shock me, not surprise me," said Ferguson, coming up for 25 years in charge of United.

"This is an industry that baffles me at times.                

"Here is a man who has won the European Cup twice, he has won Scudettos (Italian championships). He did the double in England last year.

"Why is that being questioned? Why is it becoming an issue? I don't understand it.

"But the rumour mill is out there that he is going to be leaving. That is sad because he is an outstanding character.

"He is a great man, full of absolute dignity."

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