x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Manchester United and Manchester City crash out of Champions League

Ferguson responds to Keane outburst; Evra calls defeat "embarrassing" while Mancini says Tevez will not leave on loan.

Sir Alex Ferguson saw his Manchester United team crash out of the Champions League.
Sir Alex Ferguson saw his Manchester United team crash out of the Champions League.

Sir Alex Ferguson hit back at former captain Roy Keane's damning assessment of Manchester United's Champions League exit.

Keane lambasted his old club in the wake of their 2-1 defeat to Basle in Switzerland last night, which dumped them into the Europa League.

The Irishman claimed it was "a reality check" for the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young, all of whom received substantial praise for their performances during United's flying start to the season.

Clearly, Ferguson was unimpressed.

"He had an opportunity to prove himself as a manager too. It is a difficult job," Ferguson said.

Yet, on a night when they failed to find a suitable answer to goals from Marco Streller and Alexander Frei until Jones bagged a late consolation and also lost skipper Nemanja Vidic to a knee injury that may keep him out for quite a while, Ferguson has some big questions to answer.

Patrice Evra admitted it is "embarrassing" that United find themselves in the Europa League.

"It feels like a dream," he said. "I feel I will wake up tomorrow and we will have qualified. But it is not a dream it is the reality. We should have woken up earlier in this competition. We deserve to be out. Even if it is a friendly, when I pull on United shirt I do my best to win that trophy. But it is embarrassing to be in the Europa League. I play for Manchester United to play in the Champions League but some players dream of playing for United in any competition and you have to respect that."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini vowed to return stronger next year after his side's maiden Champions League campaign ended at the group stage last night.

City produced their best European performance of the season as they overcame an albeit under-strength Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium but it was not enough to progress from Group A.

Napoli's victory over Villarreal by the same scoreline in Spain rendered the result meaningless and condemned City to the Europa League but Mancini took the setback in his stride.

As Premier League leaders and title favourites, City seem highly likely to qualify again next year and Mancini said: "It is my opinion that we need to improve as a squad to play better in the Champions League than this year.

"For us it will be important to improve in the next six months in the Premier League and try to win the Europa League.

"Then next year we can do better in the Champions League.

"It was our first time in the Champions League and we were in the worst group.

"It was difficult but we can't change it now. Many congratulations to Napoli."

Mancini has restated the club's desire only to sell - and not loan out - Carlos Tevez.

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani last night announced the Italian giants had made an offer to City to take the Argentinian on loan in January with a firm option to buy next summer.

City have not formally acknowledged they have received an offer but Mancini insists the club do not want to let the 27-year-old leave on loan.

Mancini said: "I don't know about this situation at the moment, but we want to sell Tevez.

"For this reason, in this moment, nothing is sure and we should wait for the next days.

"The only sure thing is we don't want Tevez to go on loan."

Tevez is currently in his native Argentina having flown home without City's permission a month ago.

His representatives have been speaking to officials at Milan about a possible move over the last fortnight.

Those productive talks resulted in Galliani announcing Milan's intentions yesterday but there has been no suggestion from City a deal is imminent.

sports@thenational.ae