Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has vowed to "try and lift his players" as he took full responsibility for the crushing defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal.
The scale of the 5-0 aggregate defeat is bound to see Guardiola come under fire from some of his critics, yet he was philosophical in his assessment of a game that was taken away from his side with three first half away goals from Real Madrid.
"We played badly, that’s my responsibility," Guardiola told reporters. "We are at the highest level in Europe and such errors are punished. I’ll try to lift the players. It is a fresh experience now, but it is too early for a general analysis.
"If you don’t play well and you defend set pieces badly, that’s just how it is. We are playing at the highest level in Europe, and such mistakes are punished right away. Bayern are a big side. I will try to lift the players again.
"The reason for the defeat is that we played too little with the ball. If you do not have control of the game, you have no chance against this team.
"When you are playing bad, you concede a lot. We came out very energised, it was a back-and-forth game, we could have scored with our chances, but we didn’t. Us playing bad is the only one explanation for this defeat.
"I've have had several hard defeats in my career and this is one of them. We conceded goals from set pieces, but we played awful, it’s the only reason we lost. There’s no other reason, it’s just football."
Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm insisted it was a collective failure and not the fault of coach Guardiola that ended Bayern’s defence of their Champions League crown.
"We have to accept responsibility as a team," Lahm told reporters. "It’s nobody’s fault, we have to defend collectively. We conceded two early goals and it was very difficult from then on."
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge predicted Real Madrid would suffer a miserable night in Munich ahead of kick-off, but he offered this scathing assessment of his side’s efforts against Real Madrid.
"It's best not to say much. Our opponent clearly dominated us. This was a disaster," Rummenigge told German television reporters, who quickly asked him whether there were question marks over the future of coach Guardiola.
"We have a very competent manager and though we’ve conceded a very painful defeat, we cannot start questioning everything right now," he responded. "Also, Real Madrid have played marvelously, it has to be said."