Rio Ferdinand believes his former side Manchester United must take the Europa League “seriously” this season.
Man United face Liverpool in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie in the Europa League on Thursday.
The competition has received ridicule in the past but, with United struggling in the Premier League, winning it represents their only chance of qualifying for the Champions League next term. Ferdinand insisted the game against Liverpool has taken on added importance.
“100% [it’s more important than usual],” he said.
“It’s another route into the Champions League so it takes on even more importance, they really need to take it seriously.”
The match will be the first time that United and Liverpool have faced each other in European competition.
It is usually a huge fixture, and one that supporters look for at the start of the campaign, but Ferdinand is right in saying that there is another layer of importance on this week’s clash. Exit the Europa League, and Louis van Gaal will come under even more pressure as United’s season would be in danger of falling apart.