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Venus: Barca are perfect and we all want to play like them
Published : 01 Dec 2010 09:36:41
WHEN Tony Mowbray took over at Middlesbrough he was asked to describe what he meant by his vision to deliver football utopia during his managerial career. At the Nou Camp on Monday, Barcelona demonstrated to the world exactly what football utopia is. Against Real Madrid, the second best team in Spain possessing arguably the best squad in the world, Barcelona delivered a masterclass, completing 636 passes and scoring five times without reply. To put that in to context, Real's tally of 379 is more akin to a team's total on an average day in the English league, while even the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea would find themselves under 600. But it was the manner in which Jose Mourinho, who led Inter Milan to Champions League glory last season, was left powerless to prevent a team consisting of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos from complete collapse that left rest of the football world drooling. Mowbray and his assistant Mark Venus could not hide their admiration. At Rockliffe Park yesterday, they asked their squad what they thought about the first El Clasico' of the season. A scenario likely to have been mirrored at clubs across the world. We asked the players what they thought, of course we did, said Venus. Did you watch him, did you see that The players give their views and that's what football is, it's about gaining opinions and hearing what we all have to say. That is where we are trying to get to, so they should be watching matches like Barcelona v Real Madrid and thinking wow, that's fantastic'. Barcelona's performance has to be the end line for anyone who has aspirations of perfecting a football team. The way they play, they were as close to perfection on Monday night's performance as I have seen since I started to watch football. It's pure, technical, perfect. It is not built around size or athleticism really, it's just built on brains and skill. It is nigh on perfect. Mowbray was widely criticised in Scotland when he was manager of Celtic for suggesting he aspires to deliver a similar brand of football to the Catalans. While that is fanciful, the Middlesbrough boss should not be the only manager craving such a style from his team. Venus, though realistic, thinks watching, learning and admiring the Barca way will be more beneficial than harmful. To see a side dominate a team of superstars like Barcelona did is incredible. You just have to have admiration for the way they play, the players that they have there, said Venus. Barca are not big, they are not athletic. They must have smallest front three in the world's big leagues, and the midfield is very small with the exception of Busquets. Yet they are so effective and it is great to watch. It is pure football. You try to get to where you can, you have to be realistic and try to get to where you think you can get. It is a tool for aspiring young players to watch, learn and develop. Other pros can learn from it as well. You have to be realistic and focus on what you want. The Barcelona starting XI that overcame Real consisted of eight graduates of the club's outstanding Academy system, including the likes of Lionel Messi, Pedro and Xavi, who completed 114 of his 117 passes against Real. It hammered home the importance of producing talent, something that did not pass Venus by. When you look at what they have produced on the pitch, it shows the value of an academy, said the Boro No 2. In a perfect world I think every club would like to produce all of their players. Even though it is unrealistic. Man United have produced a hell of a lot, Arsenal do, Liverpool a few, Chelsea not as many, Middlesbrough have produced a lot in comparison to other British teams. They have not gone out and bought all of their players to make a dream team. They have not done a Man City, they all play the way they play, and they have created that. It's perfect. On the Academy front, Middlesbrough last night insisted promising goalkeeper Jason Steele is not for sale after links with a £4m switch to Arsenal. The story is complete nonsense, said chief executive Keith Lamb. We have no intention of selling Jason for £4m or any other fee. He is a massive part of the future of this football club, so the idea of selling him is not on our agenda. A signing session with Tony Mowbray scheduled to take place at 4-5pm today has been cancelled due to weather. It will now take place instead at the same time on Monday, December 13 in the MFC Official store in Captain Cook Square, Middlesbrough. A signing session with Julio Arca, Luke Williams and Andrew Halliday is still scheduled to go ahead tomorrow between 5-6pm at the same store.