It was a straightforward question Adrian Chiles posed to Roy Keane after Manchester City had been beaten 2-0 in their first-ever Champions League knockout tie.
“Can you make any case for them in Barcelona?” he asked.
And Keane gave an even more straightforward answer: “No.”
But if City’s grip on Europe was slipping away before our eyes, they were in good company.
For ITV too an engagement with the world’s finest club competition is a finite thing.
“This feels like a defining night,” Chiles had said at the start of the broadcast.
And he might well have been referring to his employers, supping in the last-chance saloon.
Still, for one night at least Adrian and his pals could pretend they remained indefinitely in the middle of things, still offering up the best the world of football has to offer.
They did a handsome job, too, starting ahead of kick-off with one of those artful little preview films that have become their trademark.
Put together by Gabriel Clarke, a man who offers so much more than a snatched question to the defeated manager just as the producer is yelling in his ear that they have to switch to the news, Tuesday night’s was a delight.
Full of swirling images of Barca’s glory football playing on Manchester’s urban architecture, it offered a perfect visual metaphor for the match ahead.
We who enjoy his work can only hope those in charge at BT were taking note.
The match, initially, did not live up to the build-up.
For the first half at least, instead of the drama we had been promised, they were broadcasting an elegant stalemate, cagey rather than exhilarating.
It was, in short, one of those games when the Clive Tyldesley “quite” was in full evidence.
“He didn’t quite connect with the header as he would have liked,” he said as an effort from Álvaro Negredo fell tamely into the Barça goalkeeper’s hands.
“That pass from Samir Nasri didn’t quite find its target,” he said when, well, another pass from Nasri failed to find its target.
It was that sort of night for City. Nothing went to plan and at the end all that was left was the search for positives to extract from the gloom.
Vincent Kompany made a valiant effort on that front.
“By no means did we feel they were superior to us,” City’s captain insisted to Clarke, the sweat beading on his brow. “They were there for the taking.”
It was an interesting interpretation, though it was one Keane, ever prepared to pour a bucket of cold water on any demonstration of unfettered optimism, was not anxious to share.
“I’m not sure he knows what he’s talking about,” he said of Kompany’s analysis.
And there in a sentence was everything we will miss when all this switches to BT.