Manchester City Champions League Reaction: Quotes, Tweets and Roundup
The end result was not unexpected after City had failed to win in the competition at all this season, but there are still plenty of questions to answer for the manager Roberto Mancini and his players.
Considering the cost of putting together the squad and the expectations placed upon them as champions of England, some will point to their failure (and that of Chelsea) as a weakening of the Premier League in recent seasons, while others will suggest that the team merely underperformed.
Here is all the reaction and fallout from their exit from the Champions League featuring the best of the media quotes and tweets.
How City Found Themselves Bottom of Group D
Drawn in the so-called "Group of Death," Manchester City knew they had a very tough road ahead of them to make the knockout phase of the Champions League.
Let's be clear; merely not qualifying from the group would still have been a disappointment, but would not have been such a shock nor as much of a failure had they battled gamely and perhaps gone close.
Not even a single victory though was a meagre return for Roberto Mancini and his men.
It all started so promisingly as City went close to beating Real Madrid in the opening fixture before late goals saw them succumb to defeat instead.
Two home games in the next three features were their chance to get back on track, but City were held by Dortmund and fell to defeat in Ajax—and couldn't return the favour, only drawing against the Dutch side at home.
A third home draw with Real Madrid and a final-day loss at Dortmund saw them end with all away defeats. They scored seven goals in the six fixtures and conceded 11 times.
|Champions League Group D|
|1st||Borussia Dortmund||14 pts|
|2nd||Real Madrid||11 pts|
|4th||Manchester City||3 pts|
Comments from the Manager
Naturally, Roberto Mancini has sought to protect both himself and his players following the Champions League exit. Speaking to the BBC after the match he noted:
It can be embarrassing if you don't play at 100%. But when you do play 100%, you can lose.
Questions might be asked in some quarters whether his team did actually give such effort, especially against Ajax where they were well outplayed. Dortmund and Real Madrid were perhaps simply better.
It was definitely a case of looking forward for Mancini, who has preferred to take the positives from the situation.
Clearly this can help us win the Premier League because we don't play in the Europa League. At the moment we cannot think about this. We are not in the Europa League and for this we should be disappointed. Last season we did better. This year we had a very difficult group and if you make a mistake in the first two or three games it is very difficult.
The exit last term was somewhat overlooked as City went on to win the Premier League and he might need to perform similarly following this year's failure.
Of course there was plenty of chatter from the English media in reacting to Manchester City's exit.
Mirror Football brings up the case of Mancini mentioning back in the summer that his squad was incapable of challenging for Europe's top prize because of their lack of investment in top-class talent.
The same publisher compares City's three points to Blackburn being in the Champions League:
City’s loss to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday confirmed them as the worst-performing English club in the competition’s history, falling short of Blackburn’s meagre haul of four points in 1995-96.
The Telegraph talks about how far away City still are from where their rich owners wish them to be.
So much for challenging the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Rather than competing for a place in next May’s Champions League final at Wembley...after being beaten once again in Europe, the reality is that City have been lightweights, regardless of the clout they possess financially.
Elsewhere, the BBC's Phil McNulty called Manchester City "desperately unconvincing" and accused them of conceding cheap goals.
Former players Dietmar Hamann and Ruud Gullit both had plenty to say to SkySports (via the Guardian) about the team too.
Hamman spoke about the differences in the two sides:
The gulf looked very big. Borussia rested some of their top players. The players who came in for City all cost a lot of money. The Borussia players didn't. I saw one team that had the will to win and one that didn't.
And Gullit commented on the lack of unity in the City team.
If the intention was to get out of playing in the Europa League then they did a great job. If their intention was to win to get in to the Europa League then they made a fool of themselves. It was dreadful. There was no team at all.
The Best Reaction from the World of Twitter
Perhaps tellingly, not a single member of the current City squad, many of whom are on Twitter, have sent any messages on the social network since the defeat—with the exception of Joleon Lescott, who has steered well clear of the subject of the match.
Samir Nasri is something of an inactive user anyway, but Lescott, Vincent Kompany, Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and others are all regular tweeters.
Perhaps silence speaks volumes in this case, or perhaps they simply knew what was waiting for them if and when they appeared.
Former players have not been quite so quiet. Franny Lee offers hope for the future and Rodney Marsh questions the depth of the squad:
It is disappointing to be out of Europe but it's our job now to win the 2 comps we're still in. Which #MCFC are more than capable of!!— Franny Lee (@FrannyLee7) December 5, 2012
Elsewhere, a raft of one-liner statistics were quickly rattled out to showcase just how badly City had failed.
7 - Seven of Manchester City's last nine European away games (excl. qualifiers) have ended in defeat. Vanquished.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 4, 2012
Manchester City are the first English side not to win a single Champions League group stage game— CastrolEDGEfootball (@castrolfootball) December 5, 2012
Bleacher Report's own Michael Cerna maybe best summed up the feelings of the group overall from the Manchester club:
Borussia Dormund were worried about being drawn in the Group of Champions. Thankfully they were drawn with Manchester City and Ajax instead.— Michael Cerna (@MichaelCernaBR) December 5, 2012
What Next for City and Mancini?
So the questions for Mancini are will he get the time to plot a third assault on the Champions League? And what does he need to achieve this season to get the chance to do so?
Mirror Football claim that Manchester City will show Mancini the door if he fails to win the Premier League for a second successive season, though they also say that Jose Mourinho would not be the choice to get the job if that happens.
Having won the FA Cup—breaking City's long-running trophy drought in the process—in 2011 and then the Premiership in 2012, Mancini should have enough of a reputation at the club with both board and fans to be able to defend the title.
It might be worth noting, though, that another defeat in the next league game, which happens to be the derby against Manchester United, would significantly increase the pressure on him from the media, if not from within the club.
Jose Mourinho himself has, half-jokingly, mentioned that he would not survive the results that Mancini has managed in the Champions League:
It is good that it was City because Roberto can work without any kind of problem I believe. If it was Real Madrid, the press wouldn’t let me return to Madrid.
As for Mancini, he has no worries about his job per his comments to ESPN, but he will know as well as anybody that his side need to be strong in the domestic league for the remainder of the season.
Going unbeaten so far, 15 games into the season, is a good indication that there is plenty more to come from his team despite not hitting the heights in performance terms until now.
Win the Premier League and the performance in the Champions League will soon be forgotten, but Mancini will need to heed the lessons from this season's campaign to ensure that next time around his team are far more competitive and successful.