Many think that, despite falling 11 points behind Liverpool, Manchester United can still end the season in that Champions League spot. This is Manchester United that we are talking about after all right?
But those who believe that are still imagining a Manchester United according to Sir Alex Ferguson – the team that was never beaten and could come back from seemingly impossible situations.
But that team has disappeared under David Moyes. Manchester United’s performance against Arsenal illustrated some encouraging signs. They certainly held their own on The Gunners patch – a team which is fighting for the title and has played some of the best football in this country over the course of the season.
But, despite Moyes seeming fairly satisfied with his team, Manchester united desperately needed three points on Wednesday. They missed yet another opportunity to give a really impressive display in a season of mediocrity.
Manchester United’s caution under Moyes was there for all to see in the last minute, when they had a chance to break up the park but instead played it safe, as if the draw were a good result.
So they find themselves up against an on fire Liverpool (11 points ahead) and a Tottenham side (8 points clear) who are picking up results in a highly professional manner.
Manchester United now need to pull back a point a game until the end of the season. Realistically this isn’t going to happen.
So perhaps it’s time to rest key players in the league and put all the eggs in the Champions League basket?
It may seem stupid to suggest that Manchester United can win the European trophy on this form.
But it remains their best chance of silverware and their best route to the competition next season. Part of the problem in the league is the burden of knowing how far behind they are. This adds pressure and probably inhibits Manchester United’s performances.
But no such problem exists in The Champions League. With seven possible games to go in the competition Manchester United are in exactly the same situation as all the other teams in the last 16.
They will have to improve their performance levels significantly and hope for good draws if they overcome Olympiakos. They will also be without Juan Mata for this competition.
But wouldn’t it be better to ensure the strongest 11 was available for the European games rather than risk injury in what now seems like a lost cause in The Premier League? Manchester United will always be a team that can beat anyone on their day, providing their best players are fit and firing.
Manchester United are not a team known for giving up. But, if they won The Champions League, this season would be seen as an overwhelming success. After the luck that they have had with injuries in this campaign we think that they should now consider resting players in the league in order to improve their chances of European success this and next season.
Dropping out of the Europa League positions could prove a blessing anyway.
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