Post-match reactions from Manchester United

Post-match reactions from Manchester United

Speaking after their 3-1 defeat at the hands of FC Barcelona in the Champions League final on Saturday, a number of players from Manchester United, as well as coach Sir Alex Ferguson, had words of praise for their Catalan opponents at Wembley. Acknowledging that Barça “deserved to win” and that Europe will have their hands full trying to stop the blaugrana next year are just a few of the comments from the Manchester contingent. More are after the jump.

Patrice Evra

The best team won tonight. I think we have to give credit to Barcelona. Even though I play for Manchester United and we always want to be the best in the world, tonight Barcelona were the best. For the moment we have to accept that for the last four years Barcelona have been the best team in the world, and United the second.”

We know each other, but they know each other so well, so perfectly. Every time Messi gets the ball he knows Xavi is going to be there, Pedro is going to be there, or Iniesta. It was very difficult, Barcelona keep the ball really well.”

Edwin Van der Sar

They played some good football, but we knew that already, and we tried to come up with something to stop them. I think it went OK in the first 20 minutes. We put some pressure on them and we held out 15 minutes longer than in Rome.

It’s unfortunate they had the first goal; it would have been nice if maybe we could have had it and maybe that could have changed the game. It was very good for morale to get that goal back and 1-1 at half-time was an OK score, but ten minutes after the break they scored again and that was hard to take.”

Speaking of Messi’s goal: “I thought I was positioned well as I thought Vidić was blocking that side.”

Nemanja Vidić

They played very well, they did a good job. When you get to the final you want to win, and obviously you feel disappointed. But you have to say Barcelona played good football, had more chances and were better than us tonight.”

I think if you look at it we have never played a team in the past like Barcelona, they played good football and deserved to win.

We tried to press high and in some parts of the game we did well. The goals we lost, we didn’t do what we have to do to close their players down. When they have time on the ball they can make the final pass and that is what they did.”

Rio Ferdinand

We gave it a better shot this time than last time (in Rome in 2009), we had a couple of opportunities.”

We got ourselves back into the game [at 1-1] and genuinely believed we could go on to win. But we’ve got to give credit to Barcelona – they were the better side on the night, they deserved to win. They’ve all got a system to work to and they know how to do it individually and collectively. We had a game plan to beat them but it wasn’t to be.”

Sir Alex Ferguson

We were beaten by a fantastic team but I expected us to do better and I think in the end we were beaten by the better team. That’s the best team we’ve ever faced – when you get teams who elevate themselves to that level it’s difficult. I think we expected to play better. It’s been a great season in many ways but it’s just disappointing to come to Wembley twice [including the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City FC] and be beaten.”

I think there’s good evidence that we’re a consistent European team now. Our record this season has been excellent but we were beaten by the best team in Europe and there’s no shame in that. Van der Sar has been a fantastic servant to United and we wish him well. He’s had a great career and played with tremendous honour and great professionalism, and that’s what stands out about him.”

Our training sessions were very good in the build-up to this game, to get as near as possible to the way they play.”

They do mesmerise you with the way they pass it. I expected us to do better, particularly after half-time, but it wasn’t to be. Great teams do go in cycles and they’re at the peak of the cycle they’re in at the moment.

They’re the best in Europe, no question about that. In my time as a manager, I would say they’re the best team we’ve faced. Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It’s not easy when you’ve been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that. It’s a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football.”

But how long it lasts … whether they can replace that team at some point … they certainly have the right philosophy, but it’s always difficult to find players like Xavi [Hernández], [Andrés] Iniesta and [Lionel] Messi all the time. But they’re enjoying the moment that they have just now. We never controlled Lionel Messi, but many people have had to say that over the years.”

The challenge is always to improve yourselves. Over the years, we’ve done OK when confronted by things like this, and taking [Barcelona] on is another challenge. We’ve some very good players and, of course, where we start to find a way forward is something we’ll mull over the summer. We’re not lacking in ideas . Hopefully we’ll come up with the right ones.”

You shouldn’t be afraid of a challenge. We want to improve. Of course, next season, we must improve even more. But we have a challenge with Barcelona. We all do. It’s no consolation being the second-best team. I don’t enjoy being second-best. Any club with the history we have – Real Madrid, Milan – they’d say the same.”

Sources: UEFA, Guardian, ESPN; Photo: Getty Images