After drawing 1-1 away to relegated Huddersfield Town, Manchester United have confirmed that they will not be competing in next season’s Champions League, but will instead be playing in the Europa League, a competition they won in 2017.
With such a setback bound to make a big impact on the club, what is next for the Red Devils? Can they make a swift return to the Champions League in the 2020/21 season? Check out the odds for this on Paddy Power.
? He gets the ball and scores a goal, Andy, Andy Cole! ?
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 26, 2019
When Ole Gunnar Solskjær was first brought in to replace Jose Mourinho as manager of the club, few would have imagined that the Norwegian would get off to such a good start.
United went on a 12-game unbeaten run in the league, which included games against Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. However, despite the good form Solskjær had got United in, it would soon disappear as soon as he was made permanent manager of the club he was at for 11 years.
Those grey clouds which abandoned the club when Mourinho left look to have returned following Solskjær becoming the permanent manager, and with it, doubts surrounding the club’s ability to return to the Champions League.
On paper, United’s squad isn’t too bad to regain the Champions League spot. They have some top-quality attackers and midfielders as well as a world class goalkeeper in David de Gea. The defence is looking like the weakest area of the squad, but with the Red Devils having missed out on Champions League football next season, this team could be ripped apart.
There are rumours of Paul Pogba wanting to leave and join Real Madrid, while de Gea’s inconsistent form this season might see United try and cash in on their prized possession in case his value decreases any further.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 26, 2019
Word is, United themselves could look to get rid of players who just haven’t lived up to the standards expected of the club. Players like Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian and Romelu Lukaku have been linked with moves away from the club and with the United squad desperately needing an overhaul, don’t be surprised if many members of the current squad are moved on to make way for new talent which could boost their Champions League qualification chances next season.
The Right Changes
United will have two opportunities to qualify for the 2020/21 Champions League. They can either finish in the top four of the Premier League, or win the Europa League next season. While this provides two routes to return to Europe’s elite competition, it does mean that any changes made to the squad will need to be the right ones.
Much of the squad needs replacing to achieve the Champions League goal and while selling the deadwood will help the club to some extent, Solskjær will require vast funds if he is to bring in the kind of talent United need in order to return to the top of English football.
This would be an almost Perfect Transfer Window for @ManUtd
I know its unrealistic, but even a fraction of this should improve us…
— Meddy (@LividLindelof) May 23, 2019
Poor leadership has seen United fail for too long now. If the Red Devils are to make a glorious return to the Champions League, they need to back the manager over the players and allow Solskjær to have control over the players coming in and going out of the club. The moment he loses control of this, he loses his vision for the club and they will fail to regain the Champions League spot.