Matching Manchester City has become the benchmark for Manchester United

Matching Manchester City has become the benchmark for Manchester United.  The world champions have been the dominant force in English and European football with their free-flowing football. One performance in particular from last season’s treble success has become the level for City’s rivals to strive to match. Recent comments from Manchester United investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe demonstrate that matching City’s mesmerising play will be a great achievement for his team.

Manchester City booked their place in last season’s Champions League final with a dominant 4-nil win over Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium. City’s win clinched a famous 5-1 aggregate win at the semi-final stage of the competition. The win set the stage for City to claim the Champions League with a win over Inter Milan in the final.

The way City dismantled Real is now looked upon as the gold standard of performance. Their first-half display was so dominant on that famous night that Real Madrid were helpless in the face of Manchester City’s onslaught. Manchester City systematically destroyed their highly fancied opponents. Pep Guardiola’s side maintained possession and pressed Real Madrid into submission. It was a performance that demonstrated that City were ready to take their place at the top of European football. The only surprise was it was only a 2-nil lead at half time such was the dominance from Manchester City.

Manchester City’s performance that night is the level for City’s rivals to strive for

One club hoping to reach that level of play is Manchester City’s arch-rivals Manchester United. In an interview with BBC Sport Sir Jim Ratcliffe is hoping to see his club one day reach that level of play on the pitch. The Manchester United investor told the BBC: “When Manchester City played Real Madrid at home in the (UEFA Champions League semi-final) second leg last season, that was the best football I’ve ever seen. That first 45 minutes where Real Madrid couldn’t get the ball was the best quality football I’ve ever seen. If we can ever get to that point, then that will be a great achievement for Manchester United.”

Manchester City have become the benchmark

During Pep Guardiola’s reign at the Etihad, his team has become the standard to be measured by. The level of football played is such that even City’s fiercest rival dreams to reach such a level of play. Their 4-nil win over Real Madrid last season is one such instance of this. It is a performance that will live long in the memory and one that may never be seen again. Such was the level reached by Pep Guardiola’s side on that famous night.

It is the ultimate compliment for Manchester City that now even their fiercest rival dreams of equalling their finest performance. Manchester City have now become the benchmark for Manchester United. That sentence shows just how good Manchester City have become.

Tags BBC Jim Ratcliffe Manchester City Manchester United Pep Guardiola Real Madrid UEFA Champions League