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.”