Zoran Tosic reveals Manchester United regret

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CSKA Moscow winger Zoran Tosic admits he might have left Manchester United a little too hastily, after pushing for an Old Trafford exit four years ago when it became clear he wasn't guaranteed regular action.

The Daily Mail carries quotes from the Serbia international who spoke glowingly about being signed by the Red Devils in 2009, in the build-up to his side's Champions League encounter against Manchester City in the behind closed doors clash at Arena Khimkion on Tuesday.

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Tosic was picked up by Sir Alex Ferguson at the age of 21, catching the former Manchester United manager's eye after scoring 18 goals in 61 matches for Partizan Belgrade.

The Premier League giants agreed to pay £7 million for the attacking midfielder's services, but failed to offer him enough significant game time to prove he could succeed in England's top-flight.

Restricted to just five first-team appearances which totalled just 79 minutes of competitive action, Tosic was swiftly sent out on loan to Germany where he enjoyed a brief spell with Bundesliga outfit Cologne.

Upon his return to Manchester the situation hadn't changed, with a certain Cristiano Ronaldo occupying his favoured position out wide, resulting in a permanent transfer to Russia in the summer of 2010, just 18 months after joining the Premier League giants from his native Serbia.

"It all happened really quickly as I played for just 18 months with Partizan Belgrade," Tosic reflected. "We won the league and the cup and there was a period when it seemed like I was scoring in every match.

"It was at that point I signed for Manchester United. It was such an exciting moment to go there and to meet Sir Alex.

"I had grown up as a United fan so to be working for the man who had brought so much success to the club was just unbelievable.

"However, there is a big difference between the Serbian and English league and when I arrived in Manchester I discovered I was not yet ready for that level.

"I spoke with Sir Alex many times and he kept telling me I had quality and just had to keep working hard. But I wanted to play more games so went to Cologne in Germany on loan and had a great six months there.

"When I came back to Manchester I was expecting to play more games for United but it didn't happen. In the end I wasn't sure I was going to get the chance I felt I deserved so decided to change club.

Transfer regret?

"Even now I am always thinking about that moment. Maybe I shouldn't have been so quick and should have worked longer to show Sir Alex. Maybe I should have stayed and fought for my place. This was Man United after all."

Despite the regret that Tosic holds regarding his failed stint at Manchester United, he's established himself as a star performer in the Russian Premier League, and scored 33 goals in 150 games for CSKA Moscow over the past five years.

Leonid Slutsky knows just how important the 27-year-old is to his current team, and he'll have an integral role to play if the club are going to have any chance of advancing to the knockout stage of the Champions League.

CSKA are currently rock bottom of Group E with just one point from their opening three games, which came courtesy of a 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Tuesday. But, with Bayern Munich and AS Roma also in the same pot, they're facing an uphill struggle to progress, and know they'll need victory from their next game at the Etihad Stadium on November 5.

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