BARCELONA MANAGER Pep Guardiola has admitted his players did not recover from Ramires’ goal in their Champions league semi-final second leg.
The Chelsea midfielder scored in first-half injury time to make the score 2-2 on aggregate.
“The key moment was when Ramires scored just before the break; that hurt us psychologically,” Guardiola said after last night’s match.
“We did everything to win, not just tonight but over the two legs. We had chances to score more goals here, and a penalty too but it wasn’t enough.”
Chelsea scored again in the second half to draw 2-2 and win the two-legged semi-final 3-2. While Guardiola said that the result was not acceptable, he refused to condemn his players.
“Ultimately we failed,” the Barcelona manager said. ”Of course there are things I would like to have corrected, but we are not in the final.
“Congratulations to Chelsea who are there. We missed key chances here and at Stamford Bridge too. How can I reproach the players for the chances they created in 180 minutes? It is just not our year.”
Lionel Messi missed a second-half penalty and again failed to score against Chelsea. That is zero goals in eight games against the London club but Guardiola threw his support behind the Argentine.
“We must thank Lionel Messi for what he has given this club,” Guardiola said. ”My admiration for him knows no limits. He is an example for everyone who wants to improve themselves.
“I have no doubt — given the competitor he is — that he will be suffering some very dark hours after this (and his penalty miss).”