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Cautiously is the only way to approach a game against Barcelona, reckons Walter, and it seems Guus thinks along similar lines...

Rangers manager Walter Smith was pilloried last season when his team reached the UEFA Cup final with a cautious style of football that, in the group stage of the Champions League, Barcelona's Lionel Messi famously described as "anti-football."

There have been complaints from the Barca camp this week, too, about 'defensive' football, but this time as perpetrated by Chelsea rather than Rangers. Yet Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink has been praised by many (though not in Spain) for his tactical acumen in stifling the Blaugrana's expansive game during the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

While Smith's cautious 4-1-4-1 formation was reviled, Hiddink's Chelsea hardly deployed any attacking threat at Camp Nou, but the Dutchman has emerged with his reputation as a master tactician enhanced.

“I did raise a smile when I read the comments about Chelsea,” Smith told The Times. “The majority of teams who play against Barcelona away will play like that. I don't think it vindicates Rangers' stance but it means that if Guus Hiddink does it, then there is an acknowledgment that this is the way you have to go about it over there.

"If Guus agrees with that, then I am delighted to have taken the same path. [Barcelona] have to accept that not every team can play in the manner that they do. I understand the frustrations of Messi, but it really shouldn't be frustrating to them, with the players they've got.”

Graham Lister, Goal.com

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