Rio Ferdinand: Manchester United must qualify for the Champions League

by Ben Topliss

Rio Ferdinand believes that Manchester United’s season will be a failure if they don’t finish in the top four of the Premier League, even if they win the FA Cup.

Louis van Gaal has overseen a disappointing campaign at Old Trafford this term, with his side regularly putting in meek performances, to say the least.

Man United are currently fifth in the league and they are relying on Swansea City to beat Manchester City this weekend if they are to stand any chance of securing Champions League qualification. Ferdinand insisted that a top four finish is the minimum that the club should be looking to achieve.

“If they don’t qualify for the Champions League, it’s not a successful season. That’s quite fair to say,” Ferdinand said.

“If they get their hands on the FA Cup, that’s a great achievement, but in my time if you’d won a trophy, you’d done well – but you’ve got to get into the Champions League as well, and I think that’s the case even more so today.

“[Reaching] the Champions League maybe outweighs winning sometimes, even the FA Cup in terms of the commercial options of a football club. Finishing in the Champions League places is the only place Manchester United should be finishing.

“That’s got to be the minimum demand at that football club. That’s what it was when I was there.”

It is painful for supporters to look back on Ferdinand’s time at United, when the club regularly challenged for domestic and European honours under Sir Alex Ferguson.

United’s descent has been swift since then and van Gaal’s mediocre squad has barely scraped into contention for a top four spot. Reaching the FA Cup final has been heralded as a major achievement but a club of United’s resources should always be there or thereabouts every year.

It is a sad state of affairs and it is unclear how exactly United get back to the top. Replacing van Gaal with Jose Mourinho, a proven winner, would certainly be a step in the right direction.

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