Daniel Alves told UEFA.com that FC Barcelona's UEFA Champions League exit "is a very, very hard blow to take" but vowed that they will do all they can to retain the Spanish title.
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FC Barcelona defender Daniel Alves reflected on a "bitter moment" after the UEFA Champions League holders were knocked out of the competition by FC Internazionale Milano, but insisted the Liga leaders would not dwell on defeat for long as they redouble their efforts to reclaim the Spanish title.
Inter advanced to the final 3-2 on aggregate after losing 1-0 on the night to Josep Guardiola's side, who pushed hard throughout against a visiting team reduced to ten men on 28 minutes following the dismissal of former Barcelona player Thiago Motta. Ultimately, though, they only had Gerard Piqué's strike six minutes from time to show for their efforts as they missed out on the chance of playing the final at the Santiago Bernabéu home of domestic rivals Real Madrid CF, currently one point back in the Liga standings.
"It's a bitter moment and there is no remedy other than to draw on this experience to come back and try to be champions again," Alves told UEFA.com. "We have the experience to get back on track even though this is a very, very hard blow to take.
"It's a big loss, but there is absolutely no time to lament what has happened or to let our guard down because Saturday's massive game [at Villarreal CF] will be upon us almost immediately and we have to win that now if we want to take a trophy from this season."
Júlio César's brilliant 32nd-minute save from Lionel Messi was the closest Barcelona came in the first half as Inter closed ranks following Motta's dismissal. Having the extra man, Alves felt, did not necessarily benefit the holders.
"We played well," he said. "Inter played the hand that was dealt them because very early on all that was left for them was to defend their lead. The sending off did not give us an advantage because they closed up and played very deep and forced us to play a style of football which is not our strength."
Gallant in defeat, Alves added: "I'm happy to congratulate them for having made it through to the next round. We've lost out on a magnificent opportunity to defend this tournament. I hope everyone accepts that we gave everything we had across the two games. Playing the final at the Bernabéu was never a big deal for me, though perhaps it was for the fans. I always said I wanted to get to the final and win it wherever it was."