Hello Europa League!
So last night Man Utd lost to Basel and in the process exited from the European Champions League. It was a disappointing night overall for the City of Manchester as Man City also exited despite beating Bayern Munich. In all honesty both teams didn’t do enough in my opinion to warrant qualification to the knock-out stages. United had plenty of chances to win in previous fixtures and given the two groups they had by far the “easier” group. That’s not to do Benfica, Basel and Otelul Galati a disservice but City had the harder group to qualify from given that they had Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal.
In the end what cost United were draws against Benfica (twice) and Basel when perhaps we could have and probably should have won. However I think that being dumped out and into the Europa League might be a good thing for United. I’d have thought that Sir Alex will blood young players and, as long as we win a couple of games, that will give some of them valuable European experience. It might also highlight United’s need for more quality in the centre of midfield as we’ve not really replaced Paul Scholes since he retired. We courted a few players in the summer transfer window but were either muscled out by other clubs or gave up altogether. In any case I hope in January or, more likely, in the summer we dip in to transfer market for someone who can really make the midfield tick.
What I do hope though is that whoever United put out to face whoever we’re drawn against in the Europa League treat it with respect and give it everything. I don’t want them all to have the same mentality as Patrice Evra in feeling that United’s participation is an embarrassment. I can see where he’s coming from and in a way can agree but I think we should be grateful that there’ll still be European football in the New Year at Old Trafford. Personally I don’t like the fact that failure in the group stages of the Champions League gives you a berth in the Europa League as I’m much more of a once you’re out you’re out person. However I don’t run the competitions so it is what it is and I think we should give our all in the competition.
So here’s to the Europa League and the promise of European football for United for at least a bit longer.