Gary Neville says league standards have dropped after Arsenal follow Manchester teams out of Europe

By Glen Keogh

Former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville has expressed his concerns about English clubs experiencing ‘a bit of a dip’ in Europe after Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League last night – following early exits for both City and United.

Chelsea, along with City, went out at the group stage.

But while Chelsea continue to progress in the Europa League, playing Steaua Bucharest in the last 16 tonight, City left European football’s premier competition with the unenviable tag of being the worst British team in Champions League history.

Neville, speaking on a return to old club Bury Juniors FC as part of the FA Community Awards 2013 told PA it’s potentially more about European clubs becoming stronger.

He said: “We are not in a strong moment. There is no point denying it.

“From 2005 to 2012 we had eight or nine finalists, which is a ridiculous success rate when you include semi-finals as well.

“But Barcelona and Real Madrid are stronger, the German teams are stronger, Juventus look like they are getting back to it.”

Manchester United’s defeat at the hands of Real Madrid last week had a touch of misfortune about it, with the referee undoubtedly playing a part in proceedings.

However Manchester City’s poor return of three points from six games meant they crashed out bottom of their group – replacing Blackburn Rovers as the worst British team in Europe’s elite cup competition since they finished bottom of their group in the 95/96 season with four points.

Neville added: “It works in cycles. You cannot always be at the top. Maybe we are having a period where we are in a little bit of a dip.

“But it may change around completely next year or the year after.”

Picture courtesy of SkySports, via YouTube, with thanks.

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