"Bayern were better," shrugged Daniel Alves as FC Barcelona digested their exit, with Andrés Iniesta adding: "It stings that we didn't compete at our normal level."
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The pain of being comprehensively dismantled by FC Bayern München did not cause any of FC Barcelona's players to forget their dignity. Almost all of Tito Vilanova's men took time to accept that it was not simply in the scoreline but right across the 180 dramatic minutes of this remarkable UEFA Champions League semi-final that they had been bested, and that the German champions needed to be applauded.
Perhaps the full impact of this defeat will be felt as the Wembley final approaches, but for Daniel Alves, Gerard Piqué and Andrés Iniesta, the hours after the 3-0 loss at the Camp Nou were for licking wounds and focusing on the Spanish title – which could be sealed at home to Real Betis Balompié this weekend.
Daniel Alves, Barcelona defender
Bayern were better than us throughout the tie. The only thing left for us is simply to salute them and congratulate them. Bayern have a great team. It's just another indication that this great tournament continuously makes you face the most powerful sides. We played with a lot of intensity tonight but we didn't score and that's been the difference. They had their chances and they took them clinically.
Now we have a very important prize left to win, the league. It's important to put that to bed as quickly as possible, then it will be time to reflect on how we need to improve in order to have one more chance to win this terrific competition.
Gerard Piqué, Barcelona defender
When another side is so superior to you, there isn't any option except to congratulate them. I think we got to this stage of the tournament a little bit under pressure in terms of our resources. In all honesty, the second half was really tough. But the first-half display wasn't bad and I don't think the absence of Leo Messi changed our mood.
What's important now is to get ourselves ready to focus on winning the league and completing that task as quickly as possible. Then for the coming year there will be some decisions for us to take.
Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona midfielder
This defeat needs to teach us how to learn from our mistakes. We've seen that there have been some during these two matches.
This team gave its all to beat Bayern but for a number of reasons – their physical power, their positional play, and other things – they deserved to beat us. In the away leg and in this match they were better than us. They are in form and it shows, but it stings us that we didn't compete at our normal level. You are left knocking at the door of the final and that's very sore. But defeats, if you use them well, are how to improve the future.
I'd like to thank our fans for their great support – it really helped to see the expressions of hope and belief on their faces. They need to know that next year we'll be back trying to win this tournament again. Now it's time to win the league and to feel good about having done so.