Kompany injury fear as Man City crash out of the Champions League
Manchester City's Champions League exit could have a nasty postscript after skipper Vincent Kompany left the Etihad Stadium on crutches last night.
Kompany took a knock during the second half of last night's 1-1 draw with Real Madrid and, although the Belgian was able to complete the game, he was not moving freely.
Manager Roberto Mancini can only hope Kompany has not sustained too much damage, particularly with a visit to Chelsea looming on Sunday.
"The opportunity to claim our place at the top of European football will come again," said Kompany on Twitter.
"No sad faces, just the hunger to improve."
Mancini is certain he will get the chance to implement the plans too, despite a second successive group stage failure.
Whilst not even winning the competition last season has provided any security of tenure for Roberto Di Matteo, it seems his fellow Italian is operating from a sturdier platform.
Mancini rejected outright the notion that Sheikh Mansour would deliver a harsh judgment, saying: "No. I don't fear this. Why?
"We still have the Premier League and the FA Cup.
"If we think we can win the Champions League after two years we are crazy."
Mancini's reasoning is that City require more experience at this level before they can truly compete for the greatest prize.
"Chelsea tried to win Champions League for 10 years," he said.
"In the best moments, when Didier Drogba was young, they didn't win.
"They did it last year when no-one thought they could.
"We need to improve our team because there are a lot of teams better than us.
"I am not saying if you get to February you can't win. Anything can happen. But we didn't do that."
City did well to salvage a point given the pummelling they took in the opening stages.
Karim Benzema put the visitors ahead after more catastrophic City defending and Cristiano Ronaldo only failed to double the advantage because he underhit a lob over Joe Hart, allowing Matija Nastasic to clear off the line.
Sami Khedira also failed to profit from two gilt-edged chances provided by Ronaldo, allowing City to scrap their way back into the contest.
There was an element of good fortune about City's equaliser too.
Former Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa was harshly judged to have fouled Sergio Aguero in the area.
Arbeloa was red carded, with Aguero dispatching the spot-kick to give City hope that ultimately went unfulfilled.