Date : 8th December 2011
Disbelief kept me awake the entire night. Manchester United out in the group stages of the Champions league after a lousy defeat at the hands of a Swiss side named FC Basel. This is probably the third time in 17 years that United have been eliminated in the group stages. Adding humiliation to the fact, United are also the first team to be eliminated in the group stage the season after contesting the Champions League final. None of us were expecting this to happen and most of us still think it is a dream. One clear flaw was exposed in the defeat ‘the absence of a central midfielder who can dominate the game’. I hate you Kevin Davis for injuring Cleverly! For things might have been different. Adding woes to the already humiliating loss, Nemanja Vidic might be out for a long time after a gory knee ligament injury. Now we are confined to the second tier Europa league which are played Thursdays and Sundays. This might put pressure on our BPL title hopes. So what really went wrong yesterday?
United started the game brightly with a lot of flair but then did the unthinkable conceding just before the 10 minute mark. De Gea could have done better with the cross but he did pull off a stunning save later on. Miscommunication between Smalling and Vidic was the main factor there. We are the comeback kings after all and this was not much of a concern for the United fans and we began waiting for the usual late dramatic comeback. Alas such a thing never happened as Basel scored a late second one.
Phil Jones did claw one back but it seemed too late. The mathematical possibility became reality. A failure to execute tactics? Over reliance on youngsters? Rafael cost us the match against Bayern Munich a few years back and now did De Gea cost us the match? Rooney failing to apply the kill-strike, Nani unable to produce the final touch on all his silky movements, that “something special” required to win the game was missing. Hats off to Basel for getting their tactics right. Complacency cost us the round as we had failed to seal the deal when Basel played at Old Trafford. May be that was the real turning point.
This is what Sir Alex had to say
“Of course we are disappointed, it is the only way we can feel,” Ferguson said. “We had so much possession of the ball and so many good opportunities in the last third of the field but in the finishing part we let ourselves down.”
My sincere request to all the fans out there
“?If you can’t support us when we lose or draw, then you don’t deserve to support us when we win!”
Even Sachin Tendulkar departs for a duck sometimes. You cannot always win but you can always give it your best shot. We trust in Sir Alex! We are down and out for now but we will be back stronger.