One way to beat Barça: give them the ball... It worked for Mourinho

In the past three seasons Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal have all been outwitted by the Catalans – but last year Internazionale showed one way to beat Europe's entertainers


Barcelona v Chelsea

May 2009, 1-1 on aggregate, Barcelona win on away goals

Chelsea's caretaker-manager Guus Hiddink was roundly criticised for his negative tactics in the first leg in the Nou Camp, with a five-man muscular midfield including the likes of John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien that smothered the Barcelona full-backs. For the second leg at Stamford Bridge Hiddink played Nicolas Anelka in place of Mikel in a more attacking move, and almost managed to win, until Andres Iniesta's stoppage-time equaliser, following an error from Essien, put Barça through on away goals. Chelsea thought referee Tom Henning Ovrebo should have given them three penalties.

Manchester United v Barcelona

May 2009, RomeBarcelona win 2-0

Sir Alex Ferguson tried to keep things solid by opting for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Wayne Rooney starting wide on the left and Cristiano Ronaldo the lone striker. However, the tactic backfired as Ronaldo was left isolated, and the deep midfield pairing of Michael Carrick and Anderson were left exposed and could not cope with the swift passing of Andres Iniesta and Xavi. Ronaldo afterwards pointed the finger of blame at Ferguson, saying: "The tactics were not good and everything went wrong for us." He moved to Real Madrid for £80m later that summer.

Arsenal v Barcelona

March 2010 Barcelona win 6-3 on aggregate

Arsenal took on the Spanish giants at their own game, and were totally outclassed for a scintillating 20-minute spell in the first leg at The Emirates with Abou Diaby and Alex Song unable to win the ball back. Arsenal went 2-0 down before recovering to draw 2-2, after Theo Walcott came off the bench in the 66th minute and scared the life out of the visitors. Arsenal took the lead in the return leg, when Walcott set up Nicklas Bendtner, and had chances to score again before Lionel Messi took charge and scored four times in a remarkable performance.

Internazionale v Barcelona

April 2010, Inter win 3-2 on aggregate

Jose Mourinho's Inter kept it ridiculously tight and managed to win 3-1 at the San Siro thanks to discipline and a fair degree of gamesmanship, using every trick in the book to disrupt Barcelona's rhythm. They conceded free-kicks in harmless areas, pressurised the officials, denied the full-backs the space to rampage forward, and pounced on Messi as quickly as possible. After the second leg Mourinho delivered the most depressing quote of the year – "We didn't want the ball because when Barcelona press and win the ball back, we lose our position – I never want to lose position on the pitch so I didn't want us to have the ball, we gave it away."



Life and Style
tech
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game