Antonio Conte admits “Bayern Munich showed they were superior” after beating Juventus 2-0 and refused to criticise his players.
“We certainly faced a very strong team and we didn’t need tonight to tell us that. Bayern are among the favourites for the trophy and in my view were very fired up after losing the Final last season on home turf,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“They are physically strong, have quality and great individuals. I cannot complain about what my players did tonight.
“We have to be honest and say the better team won on the night. Seeing as we are coming back to playing at this level, it has to tell us how far away we are from the top teams in Europe.
“We know football is unpredictable and it’ll be an incredibly difficult task to go through, but we take it as experience and try to improve where we need to improve.
Mirko Vucinic was suffering from flu symptoms and was therefore not fit to start, but Conte denies this changed his plans.
“We had prepared the game in the normal fashion. Inevitably you have to deal with the opponents and tonight Bayern were extremely physical and determined. Compliments to Bayern.
“We have become competitive again in Italy, but need to keep working in order to improve on a continental level too.”
Juve unusually misplaced many passes and gave the ball away repeatedly in the final third, but Conte would not blame anyone.
“Bayern pressed us constantly and kept the tempo up, so we really struggled in the one-on-one due to their physicality too. I can’t get angry or point the finger at someone who could’ve given more this evening. In football you must be honest and admit tonight Bayern showed they were superior.
“We have just started our process 16 months ago and being in a Champions League quarter-final makes us proud. It is another stepping stone on this journey we are on.
“When we managed to keep possession, we caused Bayern problems, but we always missed the final ball or the change of direction. I think Bayern deserve much of the credit for that.
“I have always said the Champions League is a dream for us and we’d follow it, but always aware there are teams at a more advanced level. Also, don’t forget they can pay millions for a single player, whereas we cannot compete on a financial level.
“These games need to help us understand how much of a gap there is from us to the superpowers. I am very happy with my group of players for giving us unforgettable nights. We must prepare for the second leg, which will be very tough, but football can have surprises.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!