Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has conceded that Barcelona were “a couple of levels” above his side after goals from Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho saw the Spaniards ease into the semi-finals of the Champions League.
United started well only for Messi to put the hosts ahead with a wonderful curling effort from 20 yards. The Argentine scored again just moments later, with a stunning long-range strike from Coutinho in the second-half completing the rout.
Barcelona will now play either Liverpool or Porto for a place in the Champions League final, with Solskjaer admitting after the match that his side remain a long way away from playing in such significant matches.
“If you want the result you need a performance and we started well and created some decent chances but then he (Messi) hits it in the bottom corner and I've got to say, it's top quality. He was the difference,” Solskjaer said.
“He is a different class, him and Cristiano (Ronaldo) are the best players of the past decade and tonight he (Messi) showed his quality. That's the quality we have to aspire to.
“If we want to get back to Manchester United's true tradition and level we have got to get to challenge the Barcelonas, and I've got to say they were a couple of levels above us in those 90 minutes and at Old Trafford.
“We want to play these games next year so we've got a massive week coming up and now we have to concentrate on the league.”