Wayne Rooney criticizes Sir Alex Ferguson's tactics at Manchester United

Wayne Rooney criticizes Sir Alex Ferguson's tactics at Manchester United

Not many attempt to criticize former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson due to his success with the club, but his former striker Wayne Rooney has done just that, claiming that the boss' tactics in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals were wrong.

United went into the 2009 final in Rome as defending champions but they were beaten despite having early chances, with goals from Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi securing a 2-0 win for Barcelona.

Ferguson's squad was weaker when the two sides met at Wembley two years later with Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez both having left the club in 2009, while the Catalan club's was arguably stronger following David Villa's arrival in 2010.

Rooney scored United's equalizer in the first half following Pedro's early strike but the Red Devil's were comprehensively outclassed and lost 3-1 after second-half strikes from Lionel Messi and Villa.

Rooney now believes things could have been done better.

"It’s always hard for a club like Real [Madrid] to go into a game saying 'we’ll surrender the ball'," Rooney said in his Sunday Times column.

"It is the same for United. But we lost two Champions League finals going toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s Barcelona, by trying to press high and get round them, which was suicidal. I remember Alex Ferguson saying 'we’re Man United and we’re going to attack, it’s in the culture of this football club' and thinking 'I’m not too sure about this'.

"I think all the players knew, deep down, it was the wrong approach, that we were abandoning the way that had brought us success in that 2008 semi-final — and sure enough both times we got outplayed. There is being true to the club, but then there’s sitting back afterwards and thinking 'we lost'.

"For me, it doesn’t matter how you do it in these big Champions League games, as long as you win — look at how Liverpool ground it out in last year’s final — and I think Zidane has the same mindset."

Do you agree with Rooney?