Roberto Mancini and Manchester City should send Roman Abramovich a thank you note and a nice basket of fruit.
The Chelsea owner's decision to sack Roberto Di Matteo (per SI.com) on the same day as City's graceless fall out of contention for advancement in the Champions League this season following a 1-1 draw surely kept some of the harsh light off City's failure.
Let us not parse language here, though. Manchester City's performance in Group D of the Champions League was not befitting of a club that won its league's championship last season. And it was certainly gravely wanting for an organization that aspires to win the Champions League.
It is hard to do that if you cannot get out of the group stage, which City has now failed to do for two years running.
Some mysteries defy rational explanation. But City's Champions League pratfall is not one of them. Here are the places where it all went wrong for City in Europe this season.