After Manchester United's 2-0 defeat in the UEFA Champions League Final at the hands of Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo blamed the tactics of the English champions.
The Portuguese said, "We didn't do well. The tactics were not good, and everything went wrong for us. We were only in it for 10 minutes, and we never found ourselves again.
"We lost a goal in the first minutes and after it was going to be difficult, but that's football. Barcelona controlled the game and deserved to win. But I'm sure I'm going to play more finals."
This blame, of course, is directed to Sir Alex Ferguson's choice of players and formation.
Is Cristiano Ronaldo being the arrogant player who blames everyone but himself for losing? No.
Yes, Ronaldo is often pictured as such, but he, along with his teammates, is simply not to blame for United's loss against Barcelona in Rome.
The players have, for the whole season, been firing goals into the nets of the best teams in the world and playing brilliantly in defense, even against the toughest opposition (minus Liverpool in the infamous 4-1 loss in EPL).
So, why should a team that can score and often keep a clean sheet with a fantastic defensive line and a very good 'keeper play 4-5-1 against Barcelona?
Barcelona had their best full-backs, Dani Alves and Eric Abidal, suspended for the Final clash at the Olimpico. Moreover, the Catalan giants were short of central defenders.
Yaya Toure, a defensive midfielder, was playing in center defense to cover up for the injured Rafa Marquez and Gabi Milito, while Carles Puyol, the heart of the Barca defense, was playing on the right of the defensive line.
Puyol's shift should have given Manchester United a good hint that they can take the chance of Barca's gaps in center defense, as Toure won't provide the best marking on Dimitar Berbatov or Carlos Tevez.
Also, the fact that Toure served as a defender left the defensive midfield short of strength.
The Ivorian is the strongest in the Barca midfield, and his absense left Barcelona with technically skilled middle men who perform best when the ball is in their possession.
The best possible way to face the Catalan side that was full of gaps in Rome was to attack.
With Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, and other excellent forwards at Ferguson's disposal, Manchester United are arguably the best team in the world today.
Thus, United have no excuse to play catanaccio against a team that, I say, would not have been an equal on a sunny day, with all their players ready and fit.
Ferguson remains a master of the game, but his tactical blunders this campaign have been disastrous. Take United's Champions League game against Porto as an example.
As I see it, Ferguson should have employed two midfielders in the center able to win possession and keep it.
The two picks for center midfield must have experience and be able to provide a good transition from defense to attack. I would have gone with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick.
Ryan Giggs had a terrific season, and Cristiano Ronaldo, Champions League winner or not, is probably the best player in the world. So the two would have been ideal on the flanks and would have been able to keep the ball and cross it in for the forwards.
In attack, Wayne Rooney would have done much better had he been playing next to in-form Carlos Tevez.
Now Ronaldo's plan might be to make Ferguson sell him to Real Madrid. Ronaldo might be thinking, "This wouldn't have happened had I been with Real."
But be sure that United's team is the best today—and that's exactly why they should have attacked.
Click on the link below to read Zahi Sahli's latest articles: