In his latest press conference, Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, has suggested that United fans must stop living in the past and dwelling on past successes and instead, embrace the Europa League.
Although the Dutchman acknowledged that the Europa League is not particularly popular in England, he would not accept that it was ‘unsatisfactory’ for a club like Manchester United to be competing in it.
Speaking about the negative view that United supporters have of the Europa League, he said that 58,000 fans came out to watch United against Midtjylland at Old Trafford and that shows that the fans do appreciate the competition. He added that he also believes there will be a full house at Old Trafford when Liverpool visit for the 2nd leg.
Yes, I have noticed that you have a negative view, but you have noticed against Midtjylland there were 58,000 fans at Old Trafford, so the fans of Manchester United are appreciating it. How many fans do you think there will be against Liverpool? I think 75,000. And I also think Liverpool will be sold out. That is what I have to say – it is very important for both teams.
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A club of Manchester United’s stature should always be aiming for the very best and it doesn’t come better than the UEFA Champions League. United are considered one of Europe’s elite clubs and Europe’s elite clubs ply their trade in the Champions League.
So it frustrates me to hear Louis van Gaal saying that we should embrace the Europa League. Okay, this season we really have no choice and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that we will qualify for next year’s Champions League with top 4 slipping away and if we progress to the last 8 of the Europa League, there are several difficult teams we could face.
Louis van Gaal knows that Manchester United belong in the Champions League. So why is he ‘bigging-up’ the Europa League, trying to make it seem acceptable for Manchester United to compete in it?
It’s because he is failing to secure a top four spot and he is worried that he may also fail to guide United to a Europa League triumph. The best he can aim for then is to finish the Premier League season in a Europa League spot. So it makes sense for him to be urging us fans to ’embrace’ it.
Well, I’m sorry Louis, but we belong in the Champions League.