Ole's verdict after United's Champions League exit
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged his Manchester United players to remain focused after the Reds bowed out of the UEFA Champions League with a 3-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
A quick-fire brace from Lionel Messi in the first half left the Reds with a mountain to climb before Philippe Coutinho curled in a stunner after the break.
Speaking to BT Sport, and in his press conference after the game, the boss reflected on missed chances in the early exchanges of the game, the power of Barca's Argentinian playmaker and turned his attention to Sunday's return to domestic action against Everton.
OUR ATTITUDE WAS RIGHT
“We did well to get here and we could see the difference between the two teams. The quality of finishing was outstanding. We started well for the first 15 minutes and we thought we've got something here, and then in four minutes they scored two goals which made it so hard. The attitude was right. We knew we were fighting against a good team with good players. We know there's work to do. We've said all along that this won't change overnight and the next few years will be massive to get to the level teams like Barcelona are at.”
Solskjaer reacts to Nou Camp defeatVideo
WE FAILED TO CAPITALISE
“When you get to this level, you can't slip up and make mistakes. You've got to take your chances. We didn't capitalise on our great start. The first two shots on target for them were two goals and it's game over then.”
HOW DO YOU STOP LIONEL MESSI?
“He’s different class. Him and Cristiano [Ronaldo], they’ve been the best players for years and I think everyone agrees. Tonight he showed his quality. That Barcelona team, that’s the level we have to aspire to get to. We know we’re not yet, but we know we can get there.”
THE RETURN OF ALEXIS
“Alexis has been injured now since the start of March so he's been out for six weeks. It was important that he got 15 minutes on the pitch and for his mentality as well - he knows his knee is okay. He was close to getting a goal. Hopefully he can give us a bit towards the end of the season so we can push to get into the top four.”
TIME TO TAKE STOCK
“We need to get the best out of each other, create an environment of a top, top, top class attitude every single day. At the moment, we've really, really done well to get to the quarter-finals and challenge for the top four. It's a rebuilding job but it starts with the coaches, and then the players. One or two additions to the squad will happen in the summer.”
A MASSIVE WEEK AHEAD
“We want to play these games again next year, so we have a massive week coming up with Everton, [Manchester] City and Chelsea. They’re disappointed but there’s no point dwelling on what could have been. It could have been different if we had started better and we got the first goal, but now we have to concentrate on next week.”