Louis van Gaal has insisted that the Europa League is “very important” to Manchester United this season.
Man United are preparing to face Liverpool in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie on Thursday.
With United struggling in the Premier League, winning the competition represents their only chance of securing Champions League football next term. Van Gaal believes that supporters are excited to see United compete in the Europa League.
“I noticed that you have a negative view [of the Europa League in England], but against teams like Midtjylland there were how many fans? 58,000,” van Gaal said.
“The fans of Manchester United are appreciating it. How many fans do you think we’ll have against Liverpool, I think maybe 75,000. I think also Liverpool is sold out, so that’s what I have to say, it’s very important for both teams and the fans are liking to see the duel between us.”
Thursday’s match will be the first time that United have faced Liverpool in European competition, which is remarkable given the history of the fixture.
It is usually a huge day for fans, but the game this week has taken on added significance due to the carrot of Champions League football. It is crucial that United take away a positive result from Anfield.