Or a statement of intent ahead of the knockout stages? Manchester City's stunning victory in Munich against Bayern last night was not enough for the Barclays Premier League side to earn top spot in Group D but it was sufficient to establish Manuel Pellegrini's team as one that the section winners will be eager to avoid in the draw for the last 16.
The contest appeared to be over when City slipped two-down inside 12 minutes after goals by Thomas Mueller and Mario Gotze, but David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov and James Milner found the net to earn an unlikely victory ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League encounter with Arsenal.
While City were unable to push on for another goal which would have seen them displace Bayern at the top of the group, Milner said the performance revealed they have the quality and desire to make an impact in the knock-out stages. "It says a lot about the dressing-room and the character of the players," he said. "To go to a place like this and go 2-0 down and then come back and win shows the character in this dressing-room. It was not enough to win the group but it shows the type of performance we need in the next round. We can come to a place like this and score goals.
"We wanted a bit of revenge after the first game [which City lost 3-1]. It will give us a lot of belief. We will come up against a good team like Bayern [in the next round]."
City will be joined in the last 16 by local rivals United. Phil Jones' second-half winner brought David Moyes some blessed relief at the end of tortuous week and ensured the Old Trafford club will be seeded in the last 16 draw. The powerful finish from Robin van Persie's corner also ended a run of 280 minutes without a goal and was enough to see off a dangerous Shakhtar Donetsk outfit, who had more shots than their hosts, on and off target, but failed to condemn Moyes to a third straight home defeat.
It was a scrappy, stuttering and, at times, unconvincing performance but at least United now have a Champions League tie to look forward to in the spring, with many of the tournament heavyweights being avoided when the last 16 draw is made next Monday.
"We got to the top of the group and that's what we wanted," Moyes said. "I think a club like Manchester United has to try and win the trophy. That's the job and we need to get better as it's a tough competition."