Why A Place In The Top Four Is More Important Than Winning The Europa League For José Mourinho And Manchester United

Posted: February 11, 2017 in Chelsea, European Football, Football, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Although a top three finish would have virtually the same outcome as winning the Europa League in that they would both mean automatic qualification for next season’s Champion’s League, the more prestigious of the two is the higher finish in the Premier League.

Fourth place, of course, would mean a chance to compete for the Champion’s League through the qualifiers, which is by no means a guarantee of participation in the competition proper.

Unless the team YOU support wins the Europa League it is not a trophy whereby people can easily remember the winners. It is, whichever way you slice it up, a B-grade competition. It is full of teams who weren’t good enough to make either the top three or four in their own league, and more teams who couldn’t get past the group stage in the Champion’s League. It is a competition for failures!

The other consideration is that, should Manchester United win the Europa League and finish outside of the top four, there would be an extra team from England in the competition, unless UEFA have contrived a way to prevent this from occurring,

The same would apply if Tottenham Hotspur were to win the trophy and finish fifth or sixth in the league.

This may be of general benefit to English football but it doesn’t help the chances of the other English clubs trying to win the competition. It also has the added disadvantage of further de-valuing a competition which is already thought of by many as an over-hyped and totally misnamed tournament due to the fact that the vast majority of it’s competitors are not actually the champions of their country. “The Champion’s League” should be renamed “The Best Teams in Europe Cup“.

If José Mourinho were to have his way then we are fairly certain that he would choose both to win the Europa League AND finish in the Premier League’s top three, thus ensuring that the English contingent in the Champion’s League remains at four, also assuming that Manchester City don’t win it this year and then finish outside of the top four.

We feel pretty sure that Mourinho wants to win every tournament in which United compete, in this way he is no different to Sir Alex Ferguson. If, however, he was only allowed to win one competition this season, he would probably choose the FA Cup and would take a third place finish in the league.

Another consideration is the profile of the club. Whilst it is true to say that, “a trophy is a trophy“, it is also true to say that the coveted trophies are still the Premier League title, the Champion’s League then the FA Cup. The rest fall some way behind in order of importance.

Manchester United supporters who, with the exception of last season’s FA Cup win, have been starved of trophies recently, would probably accept anything at present as it would continue to portray the club and it’s manager as going in the right direction. This would still be the case though, even if they were to win nothing. The football is better now than it has been for a few years and, because of this, trophies will follow sooner rather than later.

Realistically, a club such as Manchester United needs to be winning the Champion’s League reasonably regularly, not just competing in it. This being the case, success for United this season would be a top four finish and qualification for the tournament next season.

Anything else, such as the EFL Cup, for which they are now the favourites, would just be the icing on the cake.

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