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Gary Neville says it was a 'miserable night' for Manchester United
Gary Neville says it was a ‘miserable night’ for Manchester United (Pictures: Sky Sports/Getty)

Gary Neville has revealed the ‘only benefit’ from Manchester United’s ‘miserable’ Champions League exit.

The Premier League club were dumped out of Europe’s top club competition by La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

Manchester United scored a late equaliser to draw the first leg of the last-16 tie 1-1, but suffered a narrow defeat at Old Trafford on Tuesday night to crash out of Europe.

Red Devils legend Neville says it was a ‘miserable’ evening for his former club but says the Champions League exit at least allows them to focus all of their energies on a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Ralf Rangnick’s side are currently fifth in the English top-flight with nine league games remaining, one point behind Arsenal who have several games in hand.

‘The only benefit of Manchester United going out last night, if there is one at all, is that they are now 100 per cent focused on the league and getting into the Champions League is their priority,’ Neville told Sky Sports News.

‘Their best chance of getting into the Champions League and finishing in the top four is probably being out of the Champions League so they can focus everything on it.

‘However, I’m not sure what that will have done for their confidence because it was a miserable night.

‘I was in the stadium. I walked down to the pitch at the end of the game and I got a closer view of the disappointment and the dejection than I ordinarily would do up on the gantry. They were absolutely brassed off. They were disappointed, dejected, upset.

‘They wilted in that second half. There was no plan. The game just fizzled out. There was no real big finish that you would expect when you’re 1-0 down. It was a real bad moment but not surprising.’

There was not much between the sides at Old Trafford but Renan Lodi’s first-half header sent Atletico Madrid through to the Champions League quarter-finals and ensured Manchester United go a fifth successive season without winning a trophy.

The Premier League club were frustrated by Atletico Madrid
The Premier League club were frustrated by Atletico Madrid (Picture: Getty)

Neville added: ‘I was negative after the game against Spurs on Saturday when they won 3-2 because I thought that performance against Spurs would get them beat against Atletico Madrid and it did.

‘Atletico were organised, compact, they fought. They have got quality up front and in midfield and it didn’t surprise me one bit. It’s not difficult to see where this Manchester United team’s problem is.

‘Any time they play against a half-decent team that are organised and compact, they look like they could get done over. They sometimes get through games, like against Tottenham, but quite often they get beat.’

Manchester United are suffering their worst trophy drought in 40 years after being knocked out of the Champions League.

Goalkeeper David de Gea fronted up after the Atletico Madrid loss, telling reporters: ‘There are too many years without any trophies, even without fighting for trophies.

‘So I think we need to be clear we want to achieve good things, fight for trophies, we don’t just want to play for the top four and be there, get out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals. Something like this.

‘We need much more from everyone because this club is too big for where we are now.

‘So we need much more from everyone because this club is too big for where we are now. We are far from the fighting places for the Premier League, for the Champions League, so we need much more from everyone.’

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Source: Metro Sport

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