So after an exciting first round in the Champions League, there are a few shocks and surprises as the competition takes a 2 month break. Of course the major shocks are the exiting of Man United, Ajax and Valencia.
Joining that clubs that had already qualified to the knock out stages are: Lyon, Basel, CSKA Moscow and Napoli. With the likes of United, Valencia, Villarreal, Porto and Ajax out of the tournament, it will be interesting to see whether the traditional European powerhouses will fair any better.
Personally, i feel that this season’s tournament will be more competitive as is already evident by the clubs that have made it through. In fact, the favourites have already been identified as a result of some of the competition existing early.
However, judging by the path the competition has taken, there are no guarantees. Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson has pledged to use his side’s shock exit as motivation for future success.
The English giants have only existed the competition at this stages on two other occasions in the last 17 years. Speaking to reporters after the match, Ferguson did not hide his disappointment.
“Of course we’re disappointed,” he said.
“You have to deal with the disappointment, and this club has used it as motivation many times.
“It’s a loss because it’s the best tournament in the world.”
On the prospect of playing Europa League football for the remainder of the season, this is what he had to say.
“That is our penalty for not qualifying tonight,” he added.
“It’s a competition I’ve never been in with United. It means a lot of Sunday games.
So as both Manchester clubs look to pick themselves up from their latest setbacks, the competition takes a much needed break for 2 months. Attention will focus on league meetings.
Leaders City travel to London on Monday to face a rejuvenated Chelsea side and i believe their fortunes will begin to change from then henceforth.
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