Sir Alex Ferguson says two Wembley defeats are the only blemishes on an otherwise “fantastic season” for Manchester United.
Speaking after the Reds' disappointing loss to Barcelona in the Champions League final, the boss was keen to focus on the positive aspects of a campaign that has seen United claim a 19th top-flight title to become the most successful club in English league football.
“It has been a great season in many ways," said Sir Alex. "We are just disappointed we’ve come to Wembley twice and been beaten, against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final and then to Barcelona in the final of the European Cup. But it has been a fantastic season - we are just disappointed it has ended on a disappointing note.”
In the end, United succumbed to the power of an inspired Barcelona side, widely regarded as the best team in the world today, if not all time. Sir Alex feels his side also belong among the European elite after a strong run to a third final in four years.
“There is good evidence that we are a consistently good European team, " Sir Alex espoused.
"I think our record this season has been excellent. We have won some really important games, but tonight we were beaten by probably, in fact definitely, the best team in Europe. There is no shame in that. From time to time you do come up against a team that is better than you and tonight was that night.
“I think it is the best team we have ever played. They are at a tremendous peak in the cycle of their team and you get teams who elevate themselves to that status and I think Barcelona are that team.
“We were well beaten. There is no other way to address the situation. We were beaten by the better team, a fantastic team of course, but I expected to do better. We expected to do better, it’s as simple as that.”