Roberto Mancini is maintaining an outwardly defiant stance but his face was a picture of dejection after the match was over. And in the faces of the club administrators one could see disappointment and doubt.
"I'm disappointed," he admitted, "but I am also proud because of the job we have done and we have had a good season. We could have got the fourth position, we had the chances but football can be strange."
He was brought in with a clear purpose: To take City to a top four finish and a ticket to the CL. In this he has not been an improvement over Mark Hughes.
City also seems to have fallen into a rut - suffering from Mancini's defensive predilection. With three holding midfielders, there is a lacuna between the midfield and the top heavy attack.
Given such little creative leeway, the onus shifts to individualistic attacking endeavour, the sort that Carlos Tevez thrives on. But as evidenced against Spurs and against Man Utd, the absence of supply up front was an obvious drawback.
Instead of concentrating on bringing a quality attacking midfielder who could connect the dots, feed the killer pass, Mancini seem to be anxious to add even more high priced strikers. A midfield maestro would be a step in the right direction.
What City need is self belief and Sneijder. Which leaves only one choice.
City could gauge if Jose Mourinho's disaffection with the Serie is strong enough to induce him to leave. He has mentioned a longing to return to the Premiership in a heartfelt way.
Mourinho in all likelihood will be be courted by Real with assured Champions League duels with the top clubs. However, City provides a different challenge altogether- of carving out a different big four in the Premiership. Usurping Man Utd and Chelsea at the top and a chance to match wits with Sir Alex, Ancelotti, and Wenger might prove to be very tempting. City could unload its deep pockets with far more assurance of its return.