Paul Scholes: Manchester City paid the price for not dealing with Barcelona's Sergio Busquets

As part of his exclusive column for The Independent, Scholes looks back at Tuesday night's crucial Champions League tie

Click to follow

You cannot play against Barcelona with a two-man attack that is as static as the one that Manchester City played on Tuesday night. I could not believe that Manuel Pellegrini went with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko up front and that he asked neither of them to drop off when City lost the ball to deal with Sergio Busquets.

Busquets runs the game for Barcelona. He gets the ball forward to Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic and from there it goes to Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. And then you’re really in trouble. You have to put someone on Busquets. I would have played James Milner and Samir Nasri on the flanks, Aguero on his own up front and have had David Silva dropping into the middle to deal with Busquets.

If you do not deal with playmakers like Busquets or Andrea Pirlo then they will cheerfully destroy you, and that is what happened to City in the first half.


In some ways I admire the principle of a manager who is determined that his team must play their own game. But this was not Newcastle at home, this was Barcelona. They are not as good as the Barcelona team that won two European Cups but they still have very high-quality players if you let them play the way they want to.

Read Scholes' full column for this week HERE