5 Apr 2012

'Ferguson was right!' - Anfield legend Steve Nicol slates Barcelona star. Fair?

At the age of 25, former Manchester United defender Gerard Pique already has an enviable medal collection. Since joining Barcelona in 2008, he's added three league titles and two Champions league winners medals to his league and European Cup medals for United, and as the lynchpin of Barcelona's defence, the Spaniard is on course for yet another European medal this year. Pique is widely regarded to be one of the best defenders in La Liga, but Liverpool legend Steve Nicol was not impressed with the Spaniard's defensive displays against AC Milan recently.'Ferguson was right!' - LFC Legend Steve Nicol slates Barcelona star. Fair?

Barca put Milan to the sword last night and marched into the CL semi-finals, but Nicol according to Nicol, Pique was a weak link in the Catalan club's defence. He observed:

"In the AC Milan-Barcelona game, I saw one of the supposed best central defenders in the world, Pique, going up against Ibrahimovic.

"As a defender, you can't get square, so what did he do? He got square. As a defender, you try and put a player onto his bad foot; what did he do? Let him go onto his good foot, and before you know it, he's gone.

"Alex Ferguson knew what he was doing when he let Pique go".

Nicol may well be right about Pique's defensive frailties; he was caught in no man's land when Milan scored their equalising goal last night, but ultimately, the proof is in the pudding:

* Barca won the tie, and conceded only one goal in two games.
* Barca currently have the best defensive record in La Liga.
* They've also had best defensive record every season since Pique arrived.

I'm sure if the chance arose, Ferguson would jump at the chance to bring Pique back to Old Trafford.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Even Pep admitted they're not the best team without ball at the their feet.
    I just love they way they get in formation as soon they give away possessions.
    You can't just counter attack them, even if alves at opponents penalty area.
    Its the very concept they adopted as a squad.
    Still,i believe Pique will not excel at premier league, its entirely different how teams attack and defend here.

  2. Erm, Ferguson wanted to keep him, Pique wanted to go. He couldn't give him enough game time as he was behind the best central defensive pairing in the world at the time, as well as, Pique was getting homesick (according to comments made by both Ferguson and Pique). Once Barca came in, Pique's boyhood team, Fergie sold him. He might have stayed at Manure, if it was any other club that was interested. Ferguson rated him. 

    Buy a Barca born-n-bred, than there is always a chance of them wanting them to go back.Anyhoo, Pique has been in poor form this season. Been in and out of the side, as well as making mistakes. Certainly hasn't been great this season. 

  3. hows this relevant to Liverpool? just because Steve Nicol said it? Non-story

  4. Barcelona have best defensive record and that is more down to their midfield than their defence. Pique is still a quality player though but i don't think he is one of the best, any decent defender can look as good as Pique in this Barcelona team. Though Puyol is definitely one of the best defenders in the world.

  5. The main reason why Barca don't concede many goals is because they're too busy scoring a fuck load.  Plus they defend from the front so much that they win the ball back before it even gets to the defense.  If you spend most games with 70%+ posession why bother so much about your back line?  Pique is great on the ball but as a defender, Fergie made the right choice of sticking with Jonny Evans.

  6. So many expets on Barcelona. Have they got spanish tv or a lot of time on their hands

  7. Prefer watching football over Corrie, Eastenders, Hollyoaks, etc. But each to their own, enjoy your Corrie, mate

  8. Majority possession is a great form of defence, when used right, as illustrated by Barca. That aside, the most important player for Barca defensively, for me, is Busquets. Tactically, he just knows when and how to fill in between the centre backs, especially when Pique goes right to cover Alves. 

  9. Stevie Nicol again!!! Pique proved last season how good a defender he is, in fairness it is well known his form has dropped this season and people (Media and EX Pro's ) jump on a bandwagon(He is not good enough etc etc....)
    One mistake does not make him a poor player overnight! And I have no doubt Ferguson would take him back as he is far better than Evans, Smalling and Jones.

    As the saying goes, Form is temporary, Class is permanent!!!

  10. just wondering why is everyone in the UK preoccupied with finding a reason to say something positive about Ferguson?  finding a small detail to praise Ferguson, in stead of looking at the big picture: this Barcelona side, with or without Pique, is far greater /more successful, playing more beautiful football/ than any of the Ferguson's teams.

    I think Pique and Barcelona made the right decision... Pique just switched from a inferior team to a superior one, while Barcelona filled-in a gap and increased their tactical options.

    As to Ferguson, regardless of whether he was right or wrong about Pique, he will, for sure, enjoy the Champions League final this year more than the one last year.

  11. very well informed original chan are you a secret manc

  12. Who cares about Fukerson and Pique?? We have our own issues at hand to rectify. Are we in for another disappointing (Easter) weekend?? I dread the thought. Damn!!

  13. No, its called using the internet and watching Barca games.

    Your local library may have a free course to improve your internet skills such as how to use search engines, especially if one is on benefits

    No need to say 'thanks for the advice', show it by making good use of my tax money by going to the local library.

    Kind regards,


  14. Well this Barca side are better than any side in the last two decades (obviously the period after Saachi's Milan side) by a country mile. Just shows how good they are, instead of how rubbish we, Manure, Chelsea, Arsenal, Milan sides, Real, etc, are.

    A majestic side, even if it can get a bit repetitive at times their style.

  15. Defo a manc. You shouldnt believe everything you read on the internet a lot of it is ill informed have you read your posts

  16. If it was Benitez who sold him he wouldn't say that, would he. I don't think Piqué will lose any sleep over his comments. He's won everything with Barca so I don't think theres anything to say really.

  17. Nice to see Nicol praising Man Utd while slating our own players.

    As good as Barcelona are, I'm disappointed that none of the high paid coaches in European football, apart from Mourinho on the odd occasion, has found a way to combat their play. The other night, against Milan, they played without an out and out striker and with Mascherano in central defence. Thought they got the best of the decision as well.

    Now that Chelsea are putting in effort again, I actually think they have the attacking players to frighten Barcelona. If only Di Matteo could get Drogba and Torres at it for two games and somehow to play together, they would be a perfect combination to unsettle what I believe is an average defence. The main problem would be that their midfield, apart from Ramires, do not appear to have the legs to stay with Barcelona. Of course, it would be a long shot, but if they had time to work on it, I'd be tempted to play 3-5-2 with Cahill, Terry and Ivanovic at the back, tell Ashley Cole to follow Messi everywhere, and then have Luiz operate as a defensive midfielder, would do a better job than Mikel, Have Ramires and one other to press Iniesta and Xavi and allow Mata to play attacking midfield, trying to get near Drogba, who would be there to bully their central defenders, and Torres to get on the end of any knockdowns from Drogba and through balls from Mata. Cahill has played as a defensive midfielder before, so could help out the midfield. There's not a huge threat from the flanks if you have Terry and Ivanovic at the black cutting out crosses. Of course, it is unlikely to work but neither is anything else. Attack wise, they should just play it long, concede possession and try to stay disciplined. Someone just needs to try something differenct against them. Messi definitely has to be man marked. They don't have an out and out striker, while Villa is injured and I think the Bilbao ploy of pushing up on them has been the closest to working this season.

  18. A great side, most definitely, but aren't you a little disappointed that no one has ever come up with a strategy to contain them? I look at their team and, obviously, any team with Messi is going to be lethal, apart from us maybe, but only Mourinho has ever worried them, his Inter team did a job on them and his Chelsea teams used to scare them as well. Everyone else seems to concede defeat before a ball has been kicked. I think they have received some outrageous decisions over the years as well. Van Persie's sending off in the Nou Camp and the Chelsea sending off in the Nou Camp, was it Drogba? One of the few players who, if he is on his game, can terrify that team, in my opinion.

    Considering they don't operate with an out and out striker when Villa is injured, and they have a decent, but not great, defence, I just cannot understand why no one has found a strategy, other than kicking them off the park, to combat their play. I recall the USA beating Spain in the Confederations Cup, and Switzerland beating them at the last World Cup, and i think that conceding possession, playing long and staying disciplined is the only thing that gives you a chance. I don't normally agree with man marking but i think that Chelsea need to man mark Messi and Cole or Luiz should be selected solely for that role.

  19. I am sure I spoke in English last time but here it is again: 'No', I am not a manc, neither blue or red. By the way, local library should also be doing English courses, which should interest you, considering poor interpretation skills illustrated by your good self.

    Apologists like you simply childishly can not accept that there are Liverpool fans out there that criticize KK or Rafa, so you resort to labelling such people as 'mancs', etc. How childish and petty. 

    Secondly, the articles I read on the internet had quotes from Ferguson and Pique a commented on earlier by myself in an earlier post 'according to comments made by both Ferguson and Pique'. So certainly reliable, certainly more so than a apologist minion who can't take people criticizing KK. Just goes to show your childish inability to debate, that you have to resort such silly posts when you don't like someone's views. Grow up.

    I shan't engage with you and your childish petty nonsense any further in this particular debate. 

  20. Careful, you might be accused of being a 'manc' or 'chelsea' fan, because you talk about them in such depth(!)

    Bloody hell, these apologists are so petty.

  21. I know, fancy enjoying watching decent football played by other teams? Traitorous!

  22. Another thing that they don't consider is that people know of some of these other players because, at some point, this club might have had an interest in signing some of them, or we may have hoped that our club would sign some of them.

    It's well documented that Benitez looked at Alves, for example. I'd have imagined that we considered Cahill as well. In fact, with Agger's injury problems, Cahill and Coates as a future defensive pairing wouldn't have been too bad. Mata was another one we were linked with for some time and while Silva has gone backwards, no one has mentioned that while they slate Ballotelli, Mata looks like Chelsea's main man now. Easily the best player in their team. And, of course, there is our own, ex, Fernando Torres, who looks like he could still end up having a better season than us and justifying his move, despite being hopeless for most of the season. Not to mention Meireles. But, no interest there, the neighbours omnibus must be ready to start soon!!

  23. I think, generally, there isn't a side out there that is good enough defensively to put in the tactical and defensive shift that is required to frustrate Barca and counter efficiently and quickly enough. Nowhere near. 

    When those teams aren't used to playing in such a fashion, its a tough ask, as you have to be well focused and drilled as a unit to play like Jose's Inter did. 

    Nor is there any team that could play like Bilbao did when they drew against Barca, as that is Bilbao's main style and is something they worked on since Bielsa has come in, even than it isn't fool proof as they aren't that invincible in the league.

    I think teams are finding it hard to change from their main style to suddenly tailoring it to combat Barca, when they come up against them. 

    Its like you have to put in an increase of 20/30% in terms of work rate and mental focus against them as well as change in tactics. That is what Jose drilled into that Inter side. But he is a excellent man manager, not many managers out there get a team so well drilled like he does.But definitely, defensively, many sides aren't as good as previous years/decade (especially with the Italian sides, they don't defend like they used to)

  24. I have something to confess folks, I watched Chelsea yesterday b-b-b-b-but I promise I am a Liverpool fan......

  25. Yes, it has been an ailment which has afflicted me for many years, causing problems in my family and embarrassment to my friends. With their support i hope to conquer this.

    The first step has been admitting that there is a problem.

  26. Absolutely agree.  Majestic as any other superlative would be an understatement for this team.

    If modern football, for all of its commercialism and lack of romanticism, has only contrubuted to the creation of this great side, I am happy.

  27. I think so many strategies have been tried and failed:
    -- high line of defence;
    -- 11 behind the ball;
    -- short passes;
    -- long balls;
    -- pressing;
    -- parking the bus in front of goal;
    -- various formations with/without diamonds, lopsided or not;
    -- or various combinations of the above.

    When the purely football strategies did not work, all other fair and less fair tactics have been tried:
    -- growing the grass higher;
    -- soaking the field;
    -- not replacing the grass;
    -- trying to kick them out of the game;
    -- mind games;

    Still, most of the time, it just did not work.  Of course, occasionally, some teams could beat them; it could even be Chelsea this year. 

    However, overall, this is the greatest team I have ever watched; they have taken football up the next level.  To beat them on a consistency basis would be quite hard.

  28. Redredman - please stop the pointless 'you're a manc' posts. Thanks.

    Sent from Samsung Galaxy Note

    -------- Original message --------
    Subject: [liverpoolkop] Re: 'Ferguson was right!' - Anfield legend Steve Nicol slates Barcelona star. Fair? | Liverpool-Kop.com

  29. I did a reply but still seems to be in queue for moderation

  30. dont engage provide the links to the comments. Again a lot of things posted on the internet are inaccurate.

  31. Barca will hammer Chelsea.... 4 clear goals over 2 legs i'd propose

  32. Pique is an excellent footballer, and a decent defender

    But Barca do not have the best defensive record because of Pique or any other defender or the goalkeeper. They are actually quite poor defensively

    Barca have the best defensive record because they press and defend so high up the pitch, winning the ball back in dangerous positions or forcing opposition to boot the ball away in blind panic

    They then routinely keep the ball for 65% + so opponents have very few opportunities to attack

    "Best defensive record since Pique arrived" comment is a little misconstrued. Guardiola managed Barca from 2008, he signed Pique, so I would attribute the defensive form and Barca defending from the front to Guardiola

    Another example of a simple stat being misused to sing the praises of a particular player

    This is why David Luiz would be great at Barca. He is a great player with the ball at his feet, but a rubbish defender in a team that has to defend regularly in games, as seen last night and on countless other occasions

  33. Barca's pressing high up the pitch makes it very difficult for most teams to get any meaningful foothold in the game

    Man marking Messi doesn't work, I watch them every week

    The reason why man marking doesn't work is that Barca don't win the ballin conventional situations

    Typically, in football, the ball is lost in midfield or up front, defenders then have the opportunity to pick up opposing forwards such as Messi

    However, when it comes to Barca, winning ball high up the pitch, by players like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta etc, their very actions to win the ball means that they are all free to receive passes when the ball is recovered

    You just can't try to keep possession, while man marking players that are closing you down. It's paradoxical

    Personally, I would play De Maria and Ronaldo as wide receivers, starting from deep positions, with Alonso playing a deep lying quarter back role. Once the ball is won, roll to Alonso and let him hit 70 yard diagonal hail marys, using dummy runner such as Benzema to spring offside traps, while targetting the runs from deep of Ronaldo and De Maria

    I need a board and magnets to demonstrate!!!

    Allardyce tried it for a while to exploit offside rule changes

  34. 'a lot of things posted on the internet are inaccurate'...such as yourself? Those comments made by Ferguson and Pique are in the mainstream media, which is a god damn more reliable than your stupid infantile personal unprovoked attacks on internet strangers. 

  35. maybe mr nichol ought to be concentrating on lfc`s defending .

  36. kyle............very interesting

  37. Maybe Pique is tired, he is, after all, going home to Shakira every night - I'm surprised the kid even has any energy left to get out of the house!