English football giants Manchester have been urged to focus on winning the Europa League this season, which would bring the club a trophy they have never won and secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.
Former manager and fans favorite, Alex Ferguson, made the assertion while speaking to ESPN earlier today.
United are fifth in the Premier League and sit four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, though they have two games in hand on the Merseyside club.
A top-four finish would ensure Champions League qualification but Ferguson, who was in charge at Old Trafford for some 27 years, believes United have a great opportunity to qualify by winning Europe’s second-tier club competition.
“The thing is, we’ve never won the Europa League, We’ve never won UEFA Cup, what it used to be. And we’ve got a great draw. I’m not saying it’s a certainty, but they’ve got a great chance.
“It’s still a European trophy. And if you win it, you get into the Champions League. The incentive is greater to do that.”
Ferguson, who was in charge at Old Trafford for 27 years, won two Champions League trophies and a Cup Winners’ Cup while at United, but English clubs have failed to win a European title since Chelsea’s Europa League win in 2013.
“In the ’70s, Ajax and Bayern Munich; ’80s, Liverpool; ’90s Italy, AC Milan. And then England had a great spell,” the 75-year-old Scot added.
“At the moment, the cycle is with the Spanish teams. And they’re best, that’s why they’re winning it.”
United play Belgian side Anderlecht away in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on April 13, before hosting Rene Weiler’s side at Old Trafford in the return leg a week later.