​Tottenham came to the fortress that is the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night and brought Manchester City's quadruple hopes toppling down. The crowd were left devastated as referee Cüneyt Çakir signalled the end of their Champions League journey mere moments after Raheem Sterling had appeared to rescue a victory from the jaws of defeat.


VAR had stolen the limelight during the first leg of the tie and once again took centre stage when the England forward poked the ball into the back of the net deep into stoppage time, only to find out that teammate Sergio Agüero had been offside in the build up. Pep Guardiola cut a forlorn figure, as did all of his coaching staff, the City players and those in the stands. It was a cruel, dark twist, but all is not lost. 

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When ​Citizens supporters take a step back, gain a better view of the picture and allow the intense emotion to fade, they may realise that this is not the calamity it may seem to be. The first port of call for why that is the case is the longstanding disdain the Etihad faithful have had for UEFA.


Due to its obvious association, the ​Champions League has been tarred with the same brush as the governing body. The aversion originated in 2011, when the ​Premier League club received a greater fine for arriving onto the pitch 30 seconds late against Sporting CP than Porto did for their fans' racist abuse of Mario Balotelli. 


The soured relationship with UEFA has led many on the blue side of Manchester to marginalise the value of Europe's elite competition, perpetually booing the official anthem before every fixture.

Retaining the league title is widely considered to be more important by supporters than lifting 'Big Ears'; focus can now remain firmly on domestic matters, an outcome that will certainly not displease them. 


What's more, if Guardiola and ​Vincent Kompany had triumphantly hoisted a total of four trophies above their heads this year, the following season would have felt decidedly hollow. Nothing would surpass the magnificence of an illustrious quadruple, not even claiming the Club World Cup. 


The tournament is seldom celebrated like any of the major honours available to City right now, making it effectively certain that the fans would witness a season that is at best the same as the last in terms of success. Even if they had won the quadruple, it is doubtful the feeling be anything remotely like completing it the first time.

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There is a strange, yet palpable, dissatisfaction amongst lovers of Celtic as the Scottish giants close on the 'Treble Treble', the achievement no longer resonating as it should. It's a feeling that may well have manifested itself in the hearts of those at the Etihad. 


Nothing beats the first time; City supporters may take comfort in that, knowing that whatever followed a quadruple would be doomed to disappoint. All that glitters is not gold and the domination of both domestic and European competition could well have brought more frustration than jubilation over the course of the coming years. 


Additionally, the team may have ended up victims of their own success. It would have been an arduous, exhausting adventure if the Sky Blues had ultimately progressed to the final in Madrid. Such fatigue - both mental and physical - would have been a detriment to the side, weakening their performances in the Premier League.

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It could very realistically have led to a scenario in which City lost the Premier League title race to ​Liverpool, as well as both Champions League and FA Cup finals. Now that would have been a humiliating degradation to suffer after their lofty hopes. This exit to Spurs, on the other hand, is a dark cloud with a distinct silver lining.