An unusually defensive United drew the first leg 0-0 away from home, and a 14th minute Paul Scholes thunderbolt at Old Trafford was enough to see them through to the final, where they defeated Chelsea on penalties to win their second Champions League title.
Barcelona got their revenge the following season, however, by beating United 2-0 in the final in Rome.
And speaking to Jamie Carragher in his The Greatest Games book, Rooney reflected on how Ferguson’s memories of the Barcelona semi-final and dislike of playing defensively may have cost them in 2009.
“He hated playing defensive. Really hated it,” Rooney recalled.
“When we got to the final in 2009, he said to us he knew we could beat them playing that way, but then he said, ‘We are Manchester United and we are not going into the Champions League final to sit back all game.
“‘We are going to attack them and do it the right way.’ We were all sitting there in the team meeting thinking, ‘Oh f***.’
“Sir Alex went through their side, saying, ‘Let’s go at them.’ Then you saw the names like Messi, Eto’o and Henry!
“I was like, ‘F****** ’ell, how much pace do you want in one team?’”
Rooney also stated his belief that it was actually Ferguson’s right-hand man Carlos Queiroz who led to the side playing more defensively in 2008.
“In my opinion that was the only way you could beat them (Barcelona),” he added.
“I think it made a difference that the assistant, Carlos Queiroz, was still there then.
“Carlos was brilliant with Fergie. Whenever the manager was following his instincts and thinking ‘we’re going to attack’, Carlos would make him rethink.
“He was the one who gave us the tactics in 2008 and was the cautious one we needed.”
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