Updated: Friday, 29th May 2020 @ 6:20am

Barcelona's possession ideology challenged by Cluj's counter-attacking threat, insists Manchester United boss

Barcelona's possession ideology challenged by Cluj's counter-attacking threat, insists Manchester United boss

By Dean Wilkins

Barcelona’s ideology of winning games by dominating possession is being challenged by European clubs and Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

As the Scot prepares to lead his team to their second Champions League group game in Romania, he has instructed his defenders to be wary of CFR Cluj’s counter-attacking threat.

The Transylvanian champions recorded an historic away victory against FC Braga last time out, despite the Portuguese outfit controlling possession for the majority of the game.

And Fergie is wary about the importance of sitting deep and attacking quickly in Europe – as opposed to Barcelona’s retaining and containing methodology.

"Counter-attacking has become a very important part of European football," said the 70-year-old.

"Now it's done by four or five players, not one or two like 20 years ago.

"The positive nature of the counter-attack has made the Champions League much better.

"It is Cluj's main strength, as they showed against Braga."

But Fergie may be made to sweat for 90 minutes as his makeshift defence may come under fire from Cluj’s attack – but he is planning to combat his team’s injury problems.

"When you consider the first half against Southampton, the first half Liverpool and first half on Saturday, we have some work to do," he said.

"You have to be concerned losing goals the way we did.

"It's not planned but I think it will be the last. After the first half on Saturday I had plenty of concerns.

"I hope it's an awareness thing because we faced this situation at the end of October last season, and from then on when Jonny [Evans] and Rio [Ferdinand] played together consistently we played better."

And Evans echoed his manager’s comments by claiming that his consistent partnership with Ferdinand played a direct part in their consistent performances.

"Every defender will tell you that when you have a settled partner you get a good understanding, and with a run of games your match fitness and concentration go up," said the Northern Ireland international.

Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher will compete in the midfield after experienced players Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes did not travel with the team.

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