With United having zero chance of finishing in the top four and now eliminated from this season’s Champions League, is it in their best interests to finish the season as strong as possible? Maybe not.
The Europa League isn’t the most luxurious competition to be involved in. The fixture list is laughable, the travelling is harsh on players and the financial benefits of the tournament are rather questionable. Winning the trophy doesn’t bring you any real respect or credit, only a glamourized preseason friendly against Europe’s real top dogs. For any team with title or even Champions League ambitions, a potential fifteen games plonked into your match schedule can really hamper your side physically and mentally. We only need to look at Tottenham these past seasons to see that.
David Moyes needs to decide whether it’s in his best interests too. Coming off of a wretched season, it could well benefit him to only have domestic competitions to worry about next August, and have a real chance at the title like we have all come to expect from the Red Devils in the Premier League era. Without the pressures of Europe on his shoulders, Manchester United could be back in the Champions League sooner than we think.
United’s next fixture against Everton will sure to be an interesting one to watch. Moyes facing up against his old club perhaps looking for redemption from the reverse fixture, the toffees chasing Champions League football again, maybe Moyes can deflect some of the attention away from him and onto Arsène Wenger with a United loss? Having Arsenal in the Europa league next season is surely another boost for Man Utd. Could David Moyes be tapping into some Mourinho-esque tactics?
I certainly hope so. However the players at United may tell you different, who will no doubt be looking to put some critics to bed this season over their retrospective performances. They themselves will probably pipe on about the glories of Europa league football next season, which is of course, if they do qualify.
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- Alex Keelan