Rivalries aside, there’s a very legitimate reason why Manchester United will want their English counterparts to fail in Europe this season.
There is a possibility that both finals could be all English affairs, or at least have some Premier League presence in them.
But that could be bad news for United in their own hunt for Champions League success next season and could prevent them from qualifying in the cruelest of ways.
United are competing with Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal for the two remaining spots in the top four and a very specific set of circumstances could occur that would see United not qualify even if they finish fourth.
The winner of the Champions League and the Europa League both automatically qualify for next season’s Champions League campaign, regardless of where they finish in the league.
As the Premier League states: “A maximum of five Premier League teams are eligible for UEFA Champions League qualification.
“In the event that a Premier League club win the UEFA Champions League and another win the UEFA Europa League and neither of these clubs finish in the top four of the Premier League, the club lying fourth in the table will drop into the UEFA Europa League group stage.”
In which case, if it transpires that Tottenham win the Champions League and one of Arsenal or Chelsea win the Europa League but then both finish outside of the top four, whoever finishes in fourth place won’t qualify.
It seems like an unlikely sequence of events but there is a small chance United could do so well to finish in the top four after being so far away when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed, only to miss out on the Champions League anyway.
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