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Manager Conundrum Apart, Can Manchester United Qualify For The Champions League?

Manchester United fans

A club of Manchester United’s prestige should be playing in the Champions League every season. However, since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, they didn’t just lose a world-class manager, they lost stability in their club.

The departures of two of the most influential people at United – Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill – rocked the club and since then, they haven’t regained their stability which helped them achieve so much success. Under David Moyes the team had no confidence; they finished a lowly seventh and didn’t qualify for the Champions League, or even the Europa League.

Last season, Louis Van Gaal achieved his primary target – qualify for the Champions League. They played some good football but they still didn’t reach the heights United achieved under Ferguson. This season United haven’t performed at the level their fans or the club require from them. LVG has a specific way of playing which hasn’t impressed the Old Trafford faithful, their possession based football isn’t the most eye-catching style of play in the league and when they aren’t getting the results they need, the fans rightly expressed the disapproval.

Louis van Gaal

The Red Devils are currently 5th in the League, six points behind Man City in 4th place. United would be expected to qualify for the top four; having spend almost £250 million, the United hierarchy would expect them to build on last season’s 4th place finish – however that now looks unlikely.

Leicester have surprised everyone with their performances this season. They are flying in 1st place and look to have guaranteed a top four position already. Tottenham Hotspur have made great strides under Mauricio Pochettino, they have some top quality players in their squad including Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Spurs are well-deserving of their current 2nd place position and the way they are playing, they look likely to finish in the top four.

Arsenal and Man City have had inconsistent spells over the last couple of weeks. They looked certainties to finish in the top four but their recent performances have come into question. Thierry Henry recently questioned Arsenal’s mentality and whether they could go on to win the league. Man City are coming off the back of a recent 3-1 home defeat to Leicester City and they are dealing with injuries to key players. The news that Manuel Pellegrini is leaving at the end of the season to be replaced by Pep Guardiola could have an impact on the mentality of the City players. They are now playing for a manager who doesn’t decide their future which can have an impact on the performances.

Another option for United to qualify would be to win the Europa League. For Louis Van Gaal to potentially keep his job next season, he needs to win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League. If United win the Europa League, he will have achieved both. No doubt the former Netherlands manager will field a strong squad for the upcoming Europa League knock-out rounds. If Arsenal and Man City continue to have inconsistent results and Manchester United put in a good run of form from now until the end of the season, United could pip one of their main rivals to the final Champions League position.