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Steven Beacom: United chief culprits on sorry night for Manchester

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BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United look on after Marco Streller of Basel scored the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United look on after Marco Streller of Basel scored the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson scratches his head before the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson scratches his head before the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Laurent Gillieron

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaves the field after  the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaves the field after the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Peter Klaunzer

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Granit Xhaka of Basel celebrates victory at the final whistle after the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Granit Xhaka of Basel celebrates victory at the final whistle after the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  FC Basel 1893 celebrate victory during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: FC Basel 1893 celebrate victory during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Yann Sommer of Basel and team mates celebrate victory after the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Yann Sommer of Basel and team mates celebrate victory after the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United goes up for a header with David Abraham and Cabral of Basel uring the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United goes up for a header with David Abraham and Cabral of Basel uring the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Granit Xhaka of Basel and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Granit Xhaka of Basel and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on dejected during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on dejected during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United appeals to referee during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United appeals to referee during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Aleksandar Dragovic of Basel tackles Nani of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Aleksandar Dragovic of Basel tackles Nani of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung of Manchester United look on after Marco Streller of Basel scored the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung of Manchester United look on after Marco Streller of Basel scored the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Manager Sir Alex Ferguson walks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Manager Sir Alex Ferguson walks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United walks dejected after Basel scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United walks dejected after Basel scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Basel fans light flares during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Basel fans light flares during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Phil Jones of Manchester United walks dejected after losing 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Phil Jones of Manchester United walks dejected after losing 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:   Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:   Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Phil Jones of Manchester United walks dejected after losing 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Phil Jones of Manchester United walks dejected after losing 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Rio Ferdinand , Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra  of Manchester United walks dejected after Basel scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Rio Ferdinand , Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra of Manchester United walks dejected after Basel scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs leaves the field after  the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs leaves the field after the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Peter Klaunzer

Basel's Marco Streller, left, and Basel's Alexander "Alex" Frei, right, celebrate after beating Manchester United in a Champions League Group C soccer match at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Basel's Marco Streller, left, and Basel's Alexander "Alex" Frei, right, celebrate after beating Manchester United in a Champions League Group C soccer match at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Laurent Gillieron

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaves the field at half time of  the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaves the field at half time of the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Peter Klaunzer

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Rio Ferdinand , Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra  of Manchester United walks dejected after Basel scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Rio Ferdinand , Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra of Manchester United walks dejected after Basel scored their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United and  battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United and battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Jamie McDonald

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BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 07: Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United look on after Marco Streller of Basel scored the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Basel 1893 and Manchester United at St. Jakob-Park on December 7, 2011 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

What an embarrassment for Manchester. City and United. They may be top dogs at home, but they are flops of the highest order abroad with both going out of the Champions League.

The who cares tournament that is the Europa League, Channel Five and Thursday nights await for them.

The shame of it all. And before anyone gripes about the pair of them being unfortunate, forget it. They deserved to be eliminated from Europe's premier club competition. Bottom line — they simply weren't good enough.

We knew that entering the final round of group games last night City were in serious danger, but for United to go out as well was a stunning development.

City's defining match came in Naples a few weeks ago when sloppy errors cost them in a 2-1 defeat. Last night they beat an understrength Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium, but that meant nothing with Napoli winning in Villarreal to clinch runners-up spot in Group A.

All that money and no Champions League football to show for it.

At least City can say they are just getting used to playing at this level after years in the wilderness. United, finalists in three of the last four years, have no such excuses.

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Criminally they won only two games out of six in what was an easy group, and those were against little Hungarian outfit Gelati. Even Moyola Park would fancy taking them on.

Last night they didn't even need to beat Basle in Switzerland to qualify for the last 16. All that was required was a draw, but they couldn't even manage that as the home side won 2-1.

Yes, United were missing key players through injury and suspension, yet still had enough on the pitch to comfortably progress. This was Basle they were playing, not Barcelona.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be fuming with his players because they let him down badly, with Wayne Rooney the chief culprit.

He was dreadfully out of sorts when United needed him most, missing a sitter from a couple of yards in the first half. Playing like this, England would be advised to leave him at home for Euro 2012 regardless of whether his three match ban is reduced by Uefa today or not.

Rooney wasn't alone in delivering a desperate display. Goalkeeper David De Gea had a shocker, at fault for Basle's first goal and hardly covering himself in glory for their second. Ji-Sung Park, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra and Chris Smalling were useless too.

United had plenty of possession but not nearly enough craft. How they needed a player like summer transfer target Wesley Sneijder.

Basle rode their luck, but battled for their lives, and merited the greatest night in their history. For United it goes down as one of their worst.

So much for the might of Manchester and English football.


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