Paper Round: A City United by Europa misery

City United by misery


The Sun: Europaagh

Martin Blackburn (on City): More than £400 million spent and still it's same old City as they were the nearly men again. And then there was one target - even if it is the Premier League title. So City must do everything to make sure they are not the nearly men when the points are added up on May 13.

Neil Custis (on United): United saw their nightmare European season finally stumble to an end. A season which began with hopes of a Champions League final in Munich in May, but ended with a last-16 Europa League exit to Spain's Athletic Bilbao in March. Basel, the Swiss side trounced 7-0 by Bayern Munich this week, did for them in the group stages of the Champions League. And, last night, Spain's current seventh-best side completed a sound thumping of United over two legs in Europe's lesser competition. How the mighty have fallen.


Daily Mail: A City United in misery

Chris Wheeler (on City): There were moments in the first half when it looked as if the two Manchester rivals had entered into a suicide pact; that having seen United go out in Spain, City were rolling over for the Portuguese of Sporting Lisbon.

Ian Ladyman (On United): It is remarkable to think that United have now lost four times in Europe this season - and three of those defeats have come in the obscure and largely irrelevant environs of the Europa League, the last two against a team six places and 33 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid. Perhaps this suggests the rest of Europe are catching up with the Premier League. Perhaps it suggests merely that United are on the wane.


Independent: Misery for Manchester as City and United crash out of Europe.

Sam Wallace (on City): The Abu Dhabi wealth may have transformed the club, the players are now international superstars and the manager is a suave Italian, but that time-honoured tradition at Manchester City that life must be made as difficult as possible just will not be shifted.

Ian Herbert (on United): The campaign was almost as brief as it was unwelcome and it was most certainly not "enjoyneering", to borrow from the slogan promoting a Spanish brand of motors, which is a part of the Europa League scene. The end of an unhappy affair, which felt very much like Manchester United being put out of their misery, frees them to repulse Manchester City's title quest. But the gulf in class on show in both legs of this fixture has left the impression of a club deep in transition.


Daily Star: Hart ache

Jeremy Cross (on City): Manchester City paid the penalty for an abject first-half performance as they crashed out of Europe last night after a brave late comeback ran out of steam. Mancini’s big-spenders were so bad early on in this Europa League last-16 tie that home fans jeered them off at the interval.

James Dobson (on United): Sir Ferguson has made a habit of ‘firsts’ in his quarter-century as manager of Manchester United – but this was one he didn’t want. United have been bounced out of two European competitions in the same season for the first time and they can have no arguments or complaints.


Daily Mirror: Eur-over

David Anderson (on City): After Chelsea's rousing comeback, Manchester City agonisingly failed to pull off their own miraculous recovery. Their second-half fightback was like Liverpool in Istanbul and Lazarus rising from the dead rolled into one as they came within inches of scoring the four goals they needed to complete their mission impossible.

David McDonnell (on United): A season of woeful under-achievement from United in Europe ended with Ferguson's men humiliated again, just as they were in failing to progress from the easiest Champions League group. United's record in Europe this season makes for embarrassing reading: played 10, won three, drawn three and lost four - including three in a row - culminating in this reputation-shredding defeat.


Daily Telegraph: Heartbreak for City

Mark Ogden (on City): Welcome to Madchester. Facing Europa League humiliation, only a 95th-minute save from a Joe Hart header denied Manchester City an amazing passage to the quarter-finals. Just like Manchester United, City will not take their place in today’s draw for the last eight, but Roberto Mancini’s team almost pulled off a stunning fightback to overcome Sporting Lisbon.

Luke Edwards (on United): It may have been nothing more than a consolation prize, largely unappreciated compensation for an early Champions League departure, but nobody can seriously argue they did not want to win it. For Bilbao, though, this competition has been a focal point of their campaign and it showed, in Manchester and again on Thursday evening as they tore into Sir Alex Ferguson's side with speed and precision.


The Guardian: Manchester united in misery

Kevin McCarra (on City): There is an edge to City's ambitions that is not of the sort the club would have envisaged a few weeks ago. It now reflects tension and doubt rather than the majestic attacking witnessed earlier in the campaign. Anxiety rather than anticipation currently has supporters on the edge of their seats.

Stuart James (on United): Only Bilbao's profligacy spared United more misery at the end of a dismal European season that everyone at Old Trafford will be keen to forget. United lost four of their 10 games in the Champions League and the Europa League and it is worth remembering that this latest setback came against a Bilbao side that are seventh in La Liga, 33 points behind the leaders, Real Madrid. The natural conclusion to draw would be that the Premier League has a lot of catching up to do.


The Times: City united by Europa misery

Oliver Kay: It has been another reality check for a city that, since Manchester City were bought by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, had dared to imagine that it might be about to become the centre of the football universe. Failure to progress through their respective Champions League groups was humbling enough, but making a premature exit from the Europa League – and while taking it far more seriously than many presumed – was a setback that neither City nor Manchester United expected.

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