A Champions League exit was unthinkable for Manchester United, but the unthinkable became a reality on Wednesday after losing 2-1 at Basel. United went into the game needing only a draw to assure progress but flopped as they missed a couple of glorious chances and lapsed at the back at crucial stages.
Sir Alex Ferguson described the exit and a entry to the Europa Cup as a punishment but on Friday softened his stance saying he was looking to win the sliverware. And why not? A trophy is a trophy and a run the Europa could help United's momentum in the chase of another Premier League title.
Where do United go from here? Is a question asked by many and has different answers from most. Many believe a central midfielder is needed, someone that can take the game from the scruff of the neck and dictate it at his own will. The problem would be finding that player, not many are that quality and even fewer are available.
Here are some of the key points, that United need to do, in my opinion, to help chase arch rivals City:
1. Captain Namanja Vidic is out injured and Rio Ferdinand is prone to get injured. United need to settle a back four. Though Ive never been convinced by Patrice Evra's ability as a defender he will have to show experience at left back. Smalling should be employed as a centre half, in his best position, as soon as one of the Da Silva Twins are back.