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Best team won, says United boss Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his side lost to the better side as Barcelona won the Champions League final 2-0 in Rome, but vowed to come back even stronger.

United were bright in the initial exchanges but after Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring after 10 minutes, there was only one team in the game as Barca over-ran their opponents in midfield.

Lionel Messi made it 2-0 after 70 minutes and the Red Devils could muster nothing in response.

Ferguson told Sky Sports 1: "In fairness we were beaten by the best team. We weren't at our best.

"The first goal was a killer, it was a bad start to the game. If you give them the ball they will keep it all night.

"But the best part of the game is that in adversity you always move forward quicker.

"We're all disappointed but we're a young team."

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Ferguson added a second striker at half-time, with Carlos Tevez replacing the ineffective Anderson.

Reflecting on that decision, the Scot said: "I brought on Tevez simply because I took the gamble of playing two through (the middle).

"Ryan Giggs, in the first half, provided something and some parts of his game were good but what we needed was someone to be there all the time.

"But they defended quite well. We had plenty of time and we had some half-chances which we maybe should have done better with."

Barca forward Thierry Henry celebrated his side's triumph by insisting that victory, rather than the considerable style in which it was achieved, was most important.

He told Sky Sports 1: "You always remember winners, that's the difference. You can play good football, pass the ball well but unless you win silverware sometimes it doesn't count."

The Frenchman, who admitted his disappointment at his failure to take the same trophy during his time with Arsenal, also hailed his side's unique treble following their domestic league and cup triumphs.

"I struggle to describe what we have achieved this year. No team has ever done this treble in Spain. It is something amazing," he said.

"Apart from the way we play it is also down to the way we fought all season. Look at tonight - in the first 10 minutes we were kind of lucky and playing against a United side who are difficult to beat. But we fight and we never give up."

On Arsenal, who lost to Barca in the 2006 final, Henry added: "I will always have disappointments from Arsenal because they are in my heart and in my blood. That disappointment will always remain in my career but tonight I am happy."

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said it was special to win the Champions League with the club he had supported as a boy - but expressed his sympathy for his former Manchester United team mates.

Having not featured in United's success over Chelsea in last year's final in Moscow, tonight's victory capped a remarkable turn around for the young defender who is now part of a treble-winning side.

"It was special because we played really well, we deserved to win and Barcelona was always my club since I was a young lad" Pique told Sky Sports 1.

"I am sorry for them because they are very good friends of mine and to see them lose the game is not good - but I am happy for me.

"Since I arrived here I knew it was the right decision. When I arrived it was a great team, we started to play well and now we have won the cup, we have won the league, and now the champions league - it is a dream season."

Barcelona goalscorer Samuel Eto'o paid tribute to his team-mates after the game.

"I think the credit must go to the good play of the team," he said.

"I think the victory is much more important than the goal."

Barca captain Carles Puyol, whose side had gone two years without a trophy prior to this season, added on Canal Plus: "In the first 10 minutes, until the goal, they (United) dominated. With the goal we were able to take control of the match. We were able to play with more calm and were able to play our game.

"We have given everything to win. We've won everything that we could win this year. We've tried to win everything and for this it has been an historic season.

"I want to thank the fans and hope they enjoy the moment. The last few years haven't been great. They have fought and suffered the same as we have," the Spain international said.

Midfielder Yaya Toure said: "This year we've done a fantastic job, for the fans and my team-mates I'm very happy."

Veteran United midfielder Ryan Giggs admitted they did not play to their potential and that they were beaten by the better team.

"At times Barcelona can make you look silly because they keep the ball so well" Giggs told Sky Sports News.

"At times we maybe chased it and didn't keep our shape as well as we should have. But still - we created chances and probably more chances than Barcelona.

"We said whoever turned up on the night would win and that proved to be the case. They turned up and played some great football - we didn't really.

"I think if we had gone a goal ahead, we're capable of keeping the ball like they are. But credit to them, they deserved it tonight."

Triumphant Barca coach Pep Guardiola, told Sky Sports News: "When I won as a player I was young and it was magnificent.

"But now winning the treble at the first attempt is marvellous."

Asked about his side's chances of retaining the title next year, something Barcelona prevented United doing tonight, the 38-year-old added: "We have to rest now and prepare, but it will be so difficult because now all the teams will want to beat us.

"We have to rest and to be humble. That is the key."

Midfielder Andres Iniesta, whose 93rd-minute strike against Chelsea in the second leg of the semi-final sent Barca to go through to the final on the away goals rule, said: "We are speechless, it is the perfect finish to a spectacular season.

"Manchester United came out better, in the first minutes they came out as we expected they would, but we were able to play our game after that," he told Canal Plus.

"I hope that fans have enjoyed it."


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