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Barcelona are a couple of levels above Manchester United, admits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that Barcelona deserved to win against Manchester United (Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepted that Barcelona were the better team over two legs after they beat his side 3-0 at the Camp Nou and 4-0 overall in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Lionel Messi punctuated United’s strong start with a moment of inspiration after 16 minutes and he doubled Barcelona’s advantage just four minutes later as his shot squirmed underneath David De Gea in goal.

Those goals early on effectively ended United’s hopes of coming back into the game but Philippe Coutinho made absolutely sure of the win for Barcelona with a trademark curling effort from distance in the second half.

Afterwards, Solskjaer accepted that United have to aspire to reach Barcelona’s level and insisted that Messi was the key difference between the teams.

Lionel Messi was in sensational form against United (Getty Images)

Speaking to BT Sport, Solskjaer said: ‘If you want a result you need a performance and you need some margins.

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‘We started well and created some decent chances in the first 10-15 minutes but then he hits that in the bottom corner Messi, I’ve got to say he’s top quality and he was the difference. They got the 1-0 and then 2-0 straight after and that was game over.

‘He’s different class. Him and Cristiano [Ronaldo] have been the best players over the last decade, I think everyone agrees on that one and tonight as well he shows his quality.

‘The Barcelona team here that’s the level we have to aspire to get to. We know we’re not there yet, we can get there, but we’ve got loads of work to do.

‘If we want to get back to Man United’s true traditions and level we have to get to challenge the Barcelona’s and I’ve got to say they were a couple of levels above in the 90 minutes here and 90 minutes at OId Trafford.’

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United’s Champions League ambitions for the season are now over but they still have plenty to play for with a place in the top-four up for grabs.

They face a daunting week with matches against Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea to come and Solskjaer insisted that his players will put their disappointment against Barcelona to one side in order to focus on their upcoming matches.

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‘We want to play in these games again next year so we’ve got a massive week coming up against Everton, City and Chelsea,’ he said. ‘They’re disappointed but there’s no point dwelling on what could have been.’

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