While it may seem like they are a million miles away at the minute, it is not that long ago that Manchester United were dining at the top table of European football. They would reach three Champions League finals in four seasons from 2008-2011.
While they would only win one of those games, that was largely due to the opposition. United would lose the 2009 and 2011 editions to Barcelona, the Pep Guardiola led side who are now widely regarded as perhaps the greatest club side of all time.
Despite Manchester United having an incredible team of their own during this period, they battered the English side in each of those finals.
Speaking on BT Sport today, Rio Ferdinand looked back at the 2011 final at Wembley Stadium. He revealed that he actually challenged Alex Ferguson about their tactics in the buildup to the game, as he believed that the high pressing the Scot hoped to impose would leave the team short in midfield.
As it would happen, that is exactly the way the game went.
This is fascinating...@rioferdy5 watches back the 2011 Champions League Final for the first time and breaks it down 👀
That Barcelona team was a joke! They threw Man Utd into disarray 😩 pic.twitter.com/2WAujMTgca
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 2, 2019
I didn't agree. I voiced my opinion, but at the time you're confident in a man like Alex Ferguson.
I said pressing them was going to be difficult, it's hard. They done us in Rome. They've probably in that midfield in Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets three of the top six players in the world, Iniesta too...
Me and Nemanja Vidic used to speak a lot about stuff like that, I thought we were going to get outnumbered in midfield. We were used to playing a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1, where we would soak up some pressure and hit teams on the break.
I thought our forward players could do that to this Barcelona team, but we never gave ourselves the opportunity.