Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were gracious in defeat after United lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley.
The two defenders were both excellent at the heart of the Reds' defence but even they were ultimately helpless to prevent Pepe Guardiola’s side lifting the European Cup, thanks mainly to an attacking masterclass from the Catalan giants.
Speaking after the match, Ferdinand was keen to praise Barcelona, who he admits were simply the better side on the night.
“Losing a cup final feels the same, it doesn’t matter where it is," said Ferdinand. "You don’t want to get to any final and lose, and we came here to become winners and genuinely believed that we could. But tonight, as I say, you have to give credit where credit is due and they were the deserving winners.
“We could have played better in parts but on the night they were the better team so we can’t really argue. From memory I think we could have done better with a couple of the goals. But on these occasions you need a little bit of lady luck with you and you need to defend well at all times, but maybe we got caught out a couple of times.”
United captain Vidic echoed his defensive partner and stated his belief that Barcelona are the greatest team he has ever faced during his Old Trafford career.
“The result says what happened on the pitch," said Vidic. "In parts of the game I think we did well but we just didn’t do what we had to do to pause their players. You cannot give them time on the ball which they had, and when they have time on the ball they can give the final pass which they did, and they scored three goals.
“I think if you look at the past, we have never played against a team like we did tonight against Barcelona. We just have to give them credit. They played good football and they deserved to win.”