Under-21 football is less about the results and more about developing the players and playing football in a way that should mirror a bigger vision for football in the country. Stuart Pearce's tenure has not only failed to deliver results, but it has provided no vision, no hope and no entertainment for those brave enough to watch.
Whatever the route, reds were flocking to the Spanish capital in numbers many reckoned hadn't been matched since the semi-final against Milan in 2005. It's not hard to see why. As Jose Mourinho put it, it was the tie the whole world was waiting for. Laden with sub-plot, it pitched together the world's most glamorous clubs, and its two best managers.