Louis van Gaal says Europa League is Man United’s best chance of Champions League qualification

by Ben Topliss

Louis van Gaal has admitted that Manchester United are now prioritising the Europa League after their top four ambitions were handed a blow with a 2-1 defeat against Sunderland on Saturday.

David de Gea’s late own goal at the Stadium of Light meant Man United were cut further adrift in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

United face FC Midtjylland in the Europa League on Thursday and van Gaal believes his side will have to win the competition to secure Champions League football for next season.

“It will be very difficult now, we have given five points away with the Chelsea result so it’s too much at this time,” van Gaal said.

“We had to win this kind of game and we didn’t, so we can only blame ourselves. Sunderland had more aggression than us and we could not cope with that aggression as we couldn’t keep the ball. I think after today the Europa League’s the best route but it will not be so easy because there are a lot of very good teams in it.”

This is the sort of statement which should get van Gaal sacked straight away. He’s basically admitting he is mentally giving up on the top four spots and will instead focus on the Europa League. What are you waiting for Ed Woodward?

Winning the Europa League will be easier said than done, with a number of top teams left in the competition and United in awful form.

There has been nothing to suggest in recent months that United are capable of winning silverware this term and the blame has to lie at van Gaal’s feet. It remains to be seen if the club will act when it comes to his position.

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