It is increasingly difficult to argue that English clubs have not recently fallen a long way behind the standards of my old club, Bayern Munich.
Bayern have been in the Champions League final three of the last four years. The probably should have beaten Chelsea in 2012, but then they bounced back anyway 12 months later and beat Borussia Dortmund at Wembley to become the champions of Europe.
Clearly, the way they are doing things is working successfully—especially when compared with English sides.
If you look at what Bayern did to Barcelona in last year’s semi-finals—winning 7-0 on aggregate, demolishing them at the Nou Camp—and then watched Barcelona this month basically control matters against Manchester City, it just illustrates the gap between Pep Guardiola’s side and the rest.
Although Chelsea did win the competition two years ago, at the moment English sides look some way off the pace when you compare them with Bayern, or even Barcelona and Real Madrid. Paris St-Germain, having invested a lot of money, are also improving rapidly.
But Manchester City have spent as much, or even more, money than PSG. They were perhaps a bit naive in the first game against Barcelona, but I was mightily impressed with them in the second leg, where they matched them in every department and were unlucky not to get in front.
I expect the first game was a huge disappointment because after that it was always a big, big ask to overturn that deficit. I know that they are very young in that competition and have improved in the last two years so I don’t know if it is a mentality, a belief, but I think when you look at that time, the money they have spent, I think they should be closer to Barcelona.
But, more generally, here are some reasons I think English clubs have fallen behind.