Following Champions League elimination at the hands of Bayern Munich, Jose Mourinho was not willing to blame Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo for his penalty shootout miss.
Mourinho, who watched his club exit the competition after two gruelling ties, believes that Ronaldo has been the best player in Spain this season and therefore should not be blamed for misfiring from 12 yards.
"Cristiano had to fail someday,"Mourinho said. "I don't want to be radical and say if he or someone else is the best, I do not want to go there. We are talking about Messi and Cristiano, two unique players.
"But this season, Cristiano has been better and a difference-maker. If Barca and us have not made it to the final, it is both our fault. After two hours of working to our limit, going to penalties is not easy. The luck was with them."
Mourinho was full of praise for his side's efforts and believes that that the weekend's fixture with Barcelona ultimately took its toll on his side.
"The boys were fantastic," Mourinho said. "The mentality was incredible against a great team who have been in a state of holiday for the last week, while we played a match like no other.
"We lacked a bit of freshness and there was a lot of tension. When it is 2-1, whoever made a mistake was going to lose. It was a great game. We lost and we are sad, but football and life is like this.
"It's normal because we wanted to win. I am saddest for my players. It hurts to see them sad, but we must be strong. Last year we won the cup, so if we win the league it is a step-forward. I am proud of the guys, there is nothing to criticise. I am proud of this group."