Houllier surprised to see Manchester United knocked out

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has spoken of his surprise that Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stages.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men lost away at Swiss side Basel and were duly dumped out of the competition. United are now in the Europa League and face a tricky tie with Dutch giants Ajax. Houllier knows all about European football, having managed in Europe for a number of years, and believes that United will get on with their normal play in the Premier League following that disappointment.

Houllier won the Europa League back in 2001 against Alaves in one of the most scintillating finals in the competition’s history. Liverpool won 5-4 and the Frenchman believes that although Sir Alex will concentrate on the title, they only need a couple of victories to be in the quarter-finals and right in contention. The 64 year old also spoke of Manchester City’s exit and their downfall by not getting a point in Naples.

The Frenchman said: ‘I was surprised to see Manchester United knocked out. I know from experience with Liverpool that Basel can be a difficult place to play, but I still expected them to go through. They did not have the luck they had at the beginning of the season. They probably threw away some points at home to Benfica and Basel. City were effectively knocked out when they didn’t get a draw at Napoli. But that’s football. These things can happen, and you have to get on with it.’

For more insight from Gerard Houllier and other leading managers plus exclusive Barclays Premier League highlights go to www.yahoo.co.uk/sport

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