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Manchester City hoped that Sevilla would do them a favour. They weren’t asking for much, just that a team who were already out of the competition should have enough pride and desire to please their fans and beat Juventus, in the process denying them top spot and a marginally easier opponent in the first knockout round.

City’s deal in all this was to beat Borussia Moenchengladbach, thereby enabling them to finish top and get the marginally easier opponent in the first knockout round.

Manchester United hoped that CSKA Moscow would do them a favour. They also weren’t asking for much, just that a team who were already out of the competition should have enough pride and desire to please their fans and beat PSV Eindhoven, in the process denying them qualification to the first knockout round and allowing United to qualify even if they could only manage a draw or even a defeat against Wolfsburg.

What United were hoping for was a safety net in case they couldn’t beat Wolfsburg which, as it turned out, they couldn’t.

In a relatively exciting game they lost 3-2 and with PSV beating CSKA Moscow 2-1 that, as they say, was that.

What must be annoying and frustrating to United fans worldwide is the way United played in the home game against PSV in particular. That 0-0 scoreline was certainly the result which cost them qualification.

In the interim, van Gaal had said, somewhat amazingly, that United aren’t good enough to win the Champions League at the moment. If that is the case, would he kindly explain to the fans what exactly he has spent almost £300 million on?

While he is at it, would he also kindly explain how, with the massive squad at Old Trafford, there is no proven quality to bring in when there are injuries?

Manchester United’s Champions League campaign brought them 1 point from the team which is currently third in the Eredivisie and 3 points from the team which is currently fifth in the Bundesliga. Their other four came from CSKA Moscow. All in all a pathetic showing from a team who, for some strange reason, were expected to qualify from this group quite easily.

Manchester City, on the other hand, got exactly what they wanted. Sevilla beat Juventus 1-0 in Spain and City won an exciting game against Borussia Moenchengladbach at the Etihad 4-2.

Despite two defeats against Juventus and despite being without their talisman captain City were good enough to win this group which was being touted as the group of death at the outset.

The reason for this was because the rest of the group was played to absolute perfection. Six points from each of their other two opponents was easily good enough and now Juventus will be sweating a little more than before as they await their fate in the knockout stage.

There surely can be no questioning Manuel Pellegrini’s tactical knowhow during this campaign. Apart from the two close losses against Juventus everything else was spot on. At a time when City fans were ruing the loss to injury of Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany, Pellegrini was relieving the pressure on his players by saying that there was little difference between finishing first or second. It can be safely assumed that, privately, he is very happy to have finished first.

As for Louis van Gaal, he has failed to qualify from a group in which United were favourites, he is being accused of playing boring football, he has no proven goalscorer and now has the Europa League to look forward to. I hope the fans are looking forward to it as well but, somehow, I doubt it.

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