Pep Guardiola was magnanimous in defeat after seeing his Bayern Munich team bow out of the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona.
The Catalans booked their place in the final of the competition with a 5-3 aggregate win despite losing the second leg 3-2 at the Allianz Arena.
A first-half brace from Neymar helped calm Barca’s nerves after Mehdi Benatia had given Bayern an early lead, while goals after the break from Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller handed the Germans victory on the night.
“I must congratulate my players. I’m happy to be the Coach of this team. We had many problems but my players gave everything this season,” the former Barcelona boss told reporters.
“We wanted to get to the final but if I lose like this I can only compliment my team. But I also congratulate Barca and I hope they go on to win a fifth European title in Berlin.
“Luis Enrique is doing a great job. Whoever they play, be it Real Madrid or Juventus, it will be a great final. Barca are strong at the back, good physically and quick in attack.
“Lionel Messi is very, very strong. He is like Pele. We lost another semi-final but could have avoided this if we had performed better defensively.
“I’m satisfied with my team but Barcelona deserve to be in the final.”
Guardiola admitted that it had been difficult to deprive the Blaugrana of possession.
“You can only beat Barca if you get the ball off them. We found it tough but never gave up. A big team has to cope with defeats like today or against Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup.
“I’d like us to play better and have all my best players available, which I don’t have, but I’m happy and pleased nonetheless,” he maintained.