In a Champions League group stage battle for survival, most would have fancied Manchester United to sweep aside FC Basel like they did in the glory days of 2007 against Roma when United were similarly faced with elimination from the Champions League.
However, no one expected United to be the blunt weapon they were against Basel. The team lacked verve, cohesiveness and urgency—it was an unexpected sight to see from a Manchester United team.
Sir Alex Ferguson summed up the feeling:
Undoubtedly the big downer in the first five months [of the 2011-12 season] was going out of the Champions League at the group stage.
And figuring out the reasons for the disappointment, my conclusion was that it wasn’t a matter of not being good enough but that we had been careless in a competition that is unremittingly relentless.