'The best team won', concedes Ferguson

GRACIOUS Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his Manchester United team lost to the better side after his dreams of retaining the Champions League trophy were dashed by classy Barcelona.<br /><br />But for a bright opening spell, the Premier League champions were second best to the Catalan superstars, who deservedly ended the English dominance in Europe with goals from Samuel Eto&rsquo;o and Lionel Messi.<br /><br />&ldquo;We started brightly and got a bit nervous after that,&rdquo; Ferguson conceded. &ldquo;We had time to recover from the goal, we had some half-chances, but in fairness we were beaten by a better team. We weren&rsquo;t at our best.<br /><br />&ldquo;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.&rdquo; <br /><br />However, Ferguson insisted the defeat &ndash; United&rsquo;s first in a European final &ndash; would help the development of his squad. &ldquo;We can learn from this,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re still a young team and we can improve from that.&rdquo;<br /><br />Victory saw rookie Barca boss Pep Guardiola become only the sixth person to win the European Cup as a player and as a manager, and found it hard to compare the two feelings.<br /><br />&ldquo;Both are special&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;As a player I was young and it was the first Champions League for the club, for now to get the treble as manager is marvellous.&rdquo; Of United&rsquo;s start he added: &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t expect that. Manchester pressed up high and they pressed four against four and caused us problems but the goal from Eto&rsquo;o &ndash; it was marvellous for us.&rdquo;<br /><br />Another ecstatic champion was defender Gerard Pique, who rejoined his boyhood team from United in May 2008. He said: &ldquo;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.&rdquo;