Jose Mourinho has identified Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s main mistake against Barcelona – trying to man-mark Lionel Messi.
United went into Tuesday’s game at the Nou Camp in high spirits following their decent performance at Old Trafford one week previous.
However, despite a promising opening 10 minutes, their optimism was quickly dashed as a combination of individual errors and Lionel Messi magic put the Catalans two goals up on the night after just 20 minutes – extinguishing Manchester United‘s hopes of a place in the last four.
Analysing his former side’s performance, Jose Mourinho said that United should have put Messi in ‘a cage’ rather than trying to man-mark him.
“Messi’s position is easy to understand but it is not easy to create a cage to control him,” Mourinho told Russia Today.
“He comes from the right, then stays in the middle, then [Ivan] Rakitic goes right and allows him to stay in the middle. It’s very difficult.
“Manchester United in the first match, zonally they occupied that area very well – but I think in this match that they started with a different perspective.
“In front of the defensive line was only Fred. That’s the area that Messi comes to get the ball and when Messi has the ball… one, one, one…you are dead.
“That’s why I never liked individual man-on-man against Messi. Messi’s a cage, you have to create a cage.
“But Barcelona is Barcelona, they have better players than Manchester United and I think it’s normal they won.”