Manchester United imposed their will in the second half of their Thursday night victory against Barcelona, just as they did in the second period of the first leg. However the Blaugrana were reluctant to call it a failure, despite once again exiting earlier than expected.
Following the match, Jules Kounde spoke to the cameras, where he highlighted disappointment as the most prevalent emotion.
“I am very disappointed, because the goal was to win the Europa League.”
“It’s a disappointment, but we can’t say it’s a failure, because we’ve competed. They’ve been two very even games against one of the fittest rivals.”
The French World Cup-finalist also reminded Cules that this team is fairly young too. Sport carried his words from a Movistar+ interview.
“We are a young squad, we have improved and we are going to continue growing. We have to go one step further and next year we are going to do it.”
Kounde was also keen to give United credit, who came from behind twice over the two legs.
“We played a good first half, but in the second half we conceded the equaliser too quickly and we lost control. You have to give the opposition the credit they deserve. They went up a gear and have made it very difficult for us.”
Barcelona have once again come up short in Europe, something which will dog Xavi Hernandez until he manages to resolve the matter. Last year was a vastly different squad, but the narrative this summer was that the spending undertaken from the club was to bring immediate success.
Should Xavi fail to win the league title, then it Barcelona will be wondering whether the gamble was worth it, given the precarious finances at the club.
The Blaugrana will now have their midweeks free to focus on La Liga, as they attempt to maintain their eight-point lead over rivals Real Madrid.