Rome, May 28 (ANI): Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to Barcelona after his team's 2-0 Champions League final defeat in Rome, admitting that the Catalans deserved their triumph and had played better than a sub-par United.
"We got into good positions, but in fairness we were beaten by the better team," said a magnanimous Ferguson.
"I don't think we played as well as we can but we were against a good team," he added.
Ferguson admitted that he gambled on his attacking line-up, playing Wayne Rooney on the left and Cristiano Ronaldo at centre-forward. But neither could penetrate the Barcelona defence as United lost to their opponents' feared combination of Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, who scored a goal apiece.
"The first goal was a killer for us," The Sun quoted Ferguson, as saying while referring to Eto'o's opener after 10 minutes.
"We started vibrantly but once they scored we were up against it. We couldn't keep the ball all night."
Ferguson said his side will learn from their defeat and take plenty of positives from a season in which they won the Premier League and Carling Cup, and were chasing an historic quadruple before being beaten in the FA Cup semi-final.
"They have done well," Ferguson said of his team.
"We have had a long season - this was 66 games. They need credit for their resilience and for some of the football they have played."
United defender Rio Ferdinand also admitted that Barcelona were the better side in Rome, ruing two "soft goals" that cost his team the match.
Barcelona striker Thierry Henry said that his team had to beat the world's best to claim glory. (ANI)