Messi expects tough United test

Messi scored the second goal in Rome as Barca beat United 2-0 to
seal a treble of Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions
League titles in coach Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge. “I
have good memories of the final in Rome, but that’s in the past,”
said Messi. “All finals are different and this will be a totally
different game to that one – United have changed (some of) their
players and it will be different.” Messi also rejected claims the
Red Devils are weaker than two years ago. “They have their league
and they are in the Champions League final,” he said. “They are not
weak; they have very good players and a lot of quality up front –
and they are used to winning.” Nevertheless, the Argentina forward
believes Barca can exploit some weaknesses in Sir Alex Ferguson’s
side. “I don’t know how they will play but it will be a special
game and we will look for their defects,” he said. In order to do
so, Barca coach Guardiola has been studying videos of United –
including the match in Rome in 2009. “We watched that match
yesterday and today,” he said. “They were better than us in the
first half, even though Samuel (Eto’o) scored, they dominated and
it was only in the second half that we were able to have some more
chances.” And Guardiola admits he is envious at the strength in
depth available to Ferguson. “They can field four or five teams
that are all competitive,” he said. “I went to watch them play
Schalke (in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Old
Trafford) and they made nine changes and still won easily. “I can’t
make nine changes to my team because we have a small squad, but
they have so much quality – (Dimitar) Berbatov, Chicharito (Javier
Hernandez), (Wayne) Rooney, (Paul) Scholes, (Ryan) Giggs – they
have so many players to choose from.”