Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola hailed his team's achievement this season in winning the treble as the greatest in the club's history, but he stopped short of calling his team the best Blaugrana side ever after their 2-0 UEFA Champions League final victory over holders Manchester United on Wednesday.
Barcelona added European club football's premier trophy to their domestic league and cup double, a feat United themselves had already achieved in 1999, with goals from Samuel Eto'o on ten minutes and Lionel Messi 20 minutes from time.
But the Catalans' coach, who also won the European crown as a player with Barcelona in 1992, said the manner of his team's triumph in scoring more than 150 goals this season made their campaign stand out. "I'm leaving tomorrow, right away, I can't do anything else," joked the 38-year-old, who became the youngest ever Champions League winning coach in his first season as a boss. "We're very, very happy, we're delirious and I'd like to congratulate the whole club.
"We're not the best team in history but we have played the best season in history," he went on. "To win three titles and how we did it. We had many problems (tonight) and there was so much pressure but Samuel's goal was great and then Messi went back into midfield because we wanted to be superior in possession. We had some problems but I'm very happy."
Guardiola revealed that he had learned from his side's defeat to United in last season's semi-final and switched around his attacking triumvirate accordingly. Back then they were stifled over the two legs and failed to score a goal but this time Guardiola brought Messi in off the right flank into the middle and switched Cameroon striker Eto'o out wide.
"At the beginning of the game we had a few problems, we didn't expect United to pressure us so high up the pitch," he revealed. "We had problems in our build-up play and we have to recognise that they had a big chance with (Cristiano) Ronaldo's free-kick (on two minutes). But after (Andres) Iniesta passed for Eto'o to score we tried to keep the ball more and bring it inside more.
"Last year we saw that Leo (Messi) had difficulties with (United left-back Patrice) Evra so we put him inside with Xavi and Iniesta and we had one more player in the middle," he added. "We had chances and they did too but in the end we had control of the ball. For us it's a disaster if we don't have the ball so we have to have it and keep it and move it well. They tried to keep the ball with (Nemanja) Vidic, (Rio) Ferdinand and (Michael) Carrick, who's a very good player.
"They tried to keep it and also tried to counter with Ronaldo and (Wayne) Rooney but we controlled the game very well," Guardiola concluded. "We told our defence that it was important when we were attacking for them to pay close attention to Ronaldo and Rooney and (Carlos) Tevez and (Dimitar) Berbatov in the second half and they did this."