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16th Feb 2024

“It’s almost like they’ve ruined it a little bit” – Gary Neville on why Champions League is boring

Lee Costello

Gary Neville

“I found it difficult to watch them.”

Former Manchester United star Gary Neville has said that the Champions League is “boring” to watch at this stage of the competition now, and there’s a key reason why.

The Sky Sports pundit made the point that because Man City are so dominant, efficient, and pretty much perfect, there is a sense of inevitability about watching them play that takes away from the excitement.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Stick to Football podcast, Neville explains his thoughts on the issue.

“‘I didn’t switch Manchester City [vs FC Copenhagen] on, on Tuesday night. I felt a bit bored.

“I saw a post from a Liverpool fan that said he watched every single one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United games in the Champions League, because there was that feeling that there was always going to be excitement one way or the other – they’d lose, or they’d win and the game would be exciting.

“You just can’t watch City – it’s almost like they’ve ruined it a little bit.

‘To call City boring would be wrong, because the football they play is outstanding, but I actually thought they were boring – I found it difficult to watch them. Since Erling Haaland’s gone [with an injury] they’re a bit more imperfect.”

Roy Keane defends Man City’s style of play.

Ex United captain Roy Keane was quick to defend Man City on this front, and said that there is something to be admired about their ability to play at such a high level so consistently.

“[Manchester City are boring] because they’re so brilliant!’ he replied when responding to Neville’s criticism.

“I get where people are coming from, but I wouldn’t agree when fans say that about City [being boring] – they’re very technical, and the stats the other night are unbelievable. I know it was just FC Copenhagen, but they beat Manchester United.

“I admire that stuff – I admire when a team can dominate so much, whether it be possession, the players, their style. I like their style of play because of the brilliance of it.

“We watch a lot of teams who try and play possession and get nowhere, but they [City] are topping it off as well with winning and scoring goals.

“I’d give City the thumbs up – it’s obviously how we were at United, but I get the argument – even Liverpool in the last few years are a bit more emotional, get it forward quicker – but because they’re so technical and brilliant, I admire that.”

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