Manchester United failed to qualify for the Champions League last season, as the Reds ended the season on a disappointing note by finishing 6th in the table. This result, however, qualified United for the Europa League alongside Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
That last time Manchester United played in Europa was in 2016/17 under Jose Mourinho. After a 2-0 win against Ajax at the Friends Arena stadium in Solna, Stockholm, Sweeden they emerged winners of the Europa League, and it was the first for the club.
Can United win their second Europa League this season?
Manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer believes that being in the Europa might a positive thing for the Red Devils.
“You can use the Europa League as something positive as Chelsea and Arsenal have and we did ourselves by winning it a couple of years ago. We have to make something positive out of it, no matter what.”
Solskjaer seems to have the competition high up on his list of priorities, as winning it means an automatic Champions League qualification. This might not be so easy as the league might prove to be difficult for United this season.
Firstly, playing Thursdays in the European competition has proven to be a hard challenge in the past as it involves long trips to the far ends of Europe. Also with the departure of some players like Lukaku, Sanchez, Herrera and Fellaini, it would be difficult for the Red Devils to cope.
With fatigues and injuries coming in as a result of the trips, Manchester United might be at a great disadvantage to compete for this cup. The lack of enough quality substitutes also will be a major pitfall for United this season. Not to also forget that this current squad has players like James, Greenwood and Wan-Bissaka who have not played in Europe before and thus lack the experience.
With all these stated out, it shows that Ole’s positivity might turn to negativity if something is not done about it.
The only solution to these possible shortcomings is the addition of more players to the squad in the January transfer window.
This will enable the coach to be able to rotate the squad and in turn, rest some players for the various competitions they will be playing.
Without these done United might not do well in the Europa League this season and end up where they started.