How did Schalke get this far?
Three weeks ago I poured scorn on the fact that apparently everyone wanted to play Schalke as they were the weak link left in the champions league draw.
Tonight I realised why they were given that tag as they looked like what their position tells us they are – an average midtable side in the German league.
Apart from the keeper, they were absolute garbage. They offered nothing, they gave Man Utd easy possession at the back and in midfield, there was no urgency from them and nothing in attack either, and on top of all that they had a manager who seemed incapable of changing anything.
What must Raul have been thinking during all this? Here is a man with a European record second to none, reduced to a spectator. It must have been humiliating for him.
Luckily for Raul, Ryan Giggs only took one of his 4 or 5 great chances. I hear a lot of people banging on about how great Giggs is – and yes he is in great form. But his finishing is one aspect of his game that has never improved and did he miss some chances tonight!
The Schalke keeper had a good game, but most of the reason why they remained in the game as long as they did was down to the awful finishing – the game should have been over at half time.
Credit has to go to Manchester United though as they played well and controlled the game. At no stage did they ever look in any trouble and such was the difference in class, Ferguson was already talking about resting players for the 2nd leg in his aftermatch interview.
I doubt he has ever had an easier night in Europe at such a late stage in the competition.