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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Silver Lining on a Bad Bad Night...

It's been around about an hour since the end of the game in Switzerland and there is going to be plenty of people looking through United's path in the Champions League and try to figure out where it all went wrong.

The decisions of Sir Alex Ferguson to play weakened teams in the early stages of the Group looks to have been a serious mistake in hindsight, although he can't be held accountable for the team blowing a 2-0 lead at home against Basel, nor conceding a goal 30 seconds after going 2-1 up against Benfica, results that would have seen United move through to the last 16 as Group Winners.

The failure to make a big midfield signing in the Summer remains an astonishing mistake as far as I am concerned as United look lightweight in that area, even if injuries had not be taking their toll. Michael Carrick, Anderson, Park, Ryan Giggs, and Tom Cleverley were not really going to fill the void left by Paul Scholes while Darren Fletcher was recovering from an illness that had curtailed the back end of last season for the Scot.

United didn't play badly tonight, but the defending once again let them down- it has been the defensive performances of the side that have helped them move through to 3 Finals in 4 seasons in this competition, yet now they have failed to move through to the last 16.

The injury to Nemanja Vidic looks a bad one and I can see him being ruled out for the rest of the season, while the consolation of the Europa League is no real consolation at all (entering a competition with the likes of Braga, Standard Liege, Vaslui and Birmingham City is not what United are all about).

I remember back in 2005 phoning my brother out in Benfica when we last went out of this competition at this stage and saying I wish we had at least reached the UEFA Cup, but I certainly don't feel that way now.

So what is the silver linings from this game? The first is that it may help Sir Alex create a siege mentality in the squad that could propel them to the Premier League title- United are certain to be criticised and mocked from all angles following their exit, as they were in 2005, but the team could emulate that one and go on a long run and win the title... Granted we don't have Cristiano Ronaldo anymore, and Manchester City are unlikely to collapse like Chelsea did that season, but it is a potential silver lining.

The other one is that this should hit the Glazers in the pockets after their pillaging of our wonderful club. The 3 Finals in 4 seasons IN SPITE OF their presence has sustained the club with large windfalls from the competition, windfalls that just don't exist in the Europa League and will hopefully put a little more pressure on the parasites.

I am not interested in the sums of money they have 'spent' since taking over the club- take a deeper look at the accounts and see what has been TAKEN out of the club and you will quickly figure out that they have spent nothing and it is only the magic of the manager that United have achieved so much in that time.

The exit from this competition will hopefully open up a few more eyes and have a few more questions asked as to how these people can continue to run the club in the manner they have, piling on a bunch of debt and barely keeping up on payments.

The third silver lining I find is that we will hopefully hear less and less about what a 'great' squad United have... It is paper thin and in serious need of freshening up and I would love to be proved wrong and United to go on a spending spree next Summer, but I won't hold my breath. The midfield is severely lacking the necessary quality and results like tonight, as well as Manchester City's vast improvement, is exposing the myth that United didn't need anybody and that they have '100 million' stored in a bank waiting for the right opening in the market.

The final silver lining is quite a silly one- United have never won the UEFA Cup in it's previous forms so this is the perfect chance to complete the set... By beating City in the Final in Romania in May.

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