Europe's top coaches have been speaking to UEFA.com in the run-up to Saturday's UEFA Champions League final, telling us what they expect to happen when FC Barcelona take on Manchester United FC at Wembley.
Ståle Solbakken's FC København lost 2-0 at Camp Nou and then held Josep Guardiola's side to a creditable 1-1 draw back in Denmark in the group stage, but Mircea Lucescu's FC Shakhtar Donetsk were well beaten by the Catalan side in the quarter-finals, losing 5-1 in Spain and then 1-0 in Ukraine.
Mircea Lucescu, FC Shakhtar Donetsk coach
The best two teams in Europe are contesting this final so I expect it to be very, very spectacular. These are two teams with great experience and a lot of history behind them, and the coaches are very important, with one a lot younger than the other.
Sir Alex Ferguson is very experienced. He has won absolutely everything. He lives for his club and he is an example for other coaches. The same goes for Josep Guardiola; he grew up in Barcelona and he spent most of his life with the club, so he shares their philosophy. You can hardly imagine either coach going off to sign for someone else. You can also see from these two teams what the coaches think about football.
Barcelona have very skilful players and good organisation. Their forte is possession, controlling the direction and rhythm of the game. They know exactly what they have to do. United are a better-built team physically, with fast players who can play direct football; they are dangerous going upfield quickly and on the counterattack. That power could decide this match, and they also have the advantage of playing in England.
Lionel Messi was my star of the competition. He was fantastic, incredible. The same goes for Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. These three attacking players left a fantastic impression; supporters and the public love players like this who can make a difference in a game. The Champions League gets more spectacular every year; above all, it is interesting for clubs. It is very important for coaches and teams to participate in competitions like this.
Ståle Solbakken, FC København coach
I expect Barcelona will have the ball for 65-70% of the match and that United will set out with a 4-5-1 formation and hope that they can get some players behind the Barcelona back four when they get the chance. However, Barcelona will not have an easy task because United have a strong midfield and I expect that they will be able to hold the Barcelona midfield.
We enjoyed our games against Barcelona in the group stage, although they felt like very long games! Barcelona's passing ability and the way they keep the ball for such long periods is outstanding, and they also have Lionel Messi in the last third of the pitch. He is always ready to do something unexpected. He seems to be resting while the other players are working but then he explodes into action and is then very difficult to stop.
I think every coach admires Sir Alex Ferguson; most of all his hunger for success which never seems to change.
I will definitely look back with pride on our campaign; for us the highlight was probably our 1-1 against Barcelona, but becoming the first Danish side to reach the knockout stage was a big step forward for our club.
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