Champions League: Moyes: Euro exile won’t hinder United

BAYERN MUNICH 3 MANCHESTER UNITED 1
(Bayern win 4-2 on aggregate)

MANCHESTER United manager David Moyes is adamant his club will still attract top players to Old Trafford despite last night’s Champions League elimination all-but signalling an end to their presence among Europe’s elite next season.

Patrice Evra lashed in the opening goal to give United a 2-1 aggregate lead, but 22 seconds after the restart “schoolboy” defending allowed Mario Mandzukic to head Bayern level, before goals from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben sealed the holders’ progress to the semi-finals.

With United seventh in the Premier League and seven points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, their 18-year stay at Europe’s top table is almost certainly set to end following their failure to win this year’s Champions League trophy.

However, Moyes hinted deals to sign new players this summer are already in place and expects a swift return to the Champions League.

“This club has never had any problems, they’ve always been looking to spend the right money on the right players, that’s nothing to do with the Champions League,” he said. “Players we’ve had little discussions with are happy to join Manchester United. When somebody might have had a quiet word in their ear, they’ve all been keen to come here. It’s a short thing [no Champions League football] not a long-term thing and they’re all very keen to join such a great club.

“We’ve not got Champions League football, but we believe we are not far away from getting back to where we want to be. Hopefully it will only be one year because our focus is to get back to a great competition.

“There’s no shame in going out to Bayern, because they’re a good side, but the players played really well and it shows the quality of the players we’ve got.”

United were at their resilient best in the first half, frustrating Robben who could only fire two shots off target while Franck Ribery also drilled inches wide from outside the penalty area.

The visitors offered little themselves at the other end, but got their reward on 57 minutes when Antonio Valencia’s cross fell to Evra on the edge of the penalty area, who arrowed a half-volley in off the crossbar.

But Bayern’s response was instant, with Mandzukic diving to reach Ribery’s cross before Evra to head beyond goalkeeper David de Gea.

The holders took the lead in the tie for the first time on 67 minutes when Robben’s low right-wing cross was turned in by Muller from close range.

And United’s brave effort to topple the German champions was finally ended 10 minutes later when Robben cut across the penalty area, beat Evra and Nemanja Vidic, then rolled a deflected shot in at the near post.