Many would now view a top four spot as tantamount to a medal for Manchester United this season. The club has built its modern foundations on the ability to quality for the competition each season and this year is the first, in the living memory of many Manchester United fans, when qualification is unlikely.
Manchester United will have to claw back 11 points and improve their goal difference massively if they are going to get into next season’s Champions League via the main route.
The other option, of course, is for them to win The Champions League itself this season. It may seem like an impossible task, particularly when you consider that Juan Mata will not be available for Manchester United for the remainder of the competition.
But what better way for departing Manchester United titans like Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra to finish on a high note than to take the crown for the fourth time in Manchester United’s history?
While Manchester United will need to improve their form considerably, they should not think of themselves as minnows in this competition. If the club gets through to the next round of the competition (quarter-finals) no team will want to face United. They may be off form but they remain one of the biggest clubs in European football and are a match for anyone on their day.
We believe that Manchester United have a secret weapon for the remainder of the competition. It may seem crazy to some but, in Marouane Fellaini, the club has a player who could make all the difference this season.
He’s had a terrible start to his career at Manchester United. His form was really poor before he got injured in the autumn and he is yet to return.
But David Moyes knows this player better than any other coach. While the £27.5m paid for Fellaini seems excessive to us, Moyes clearly felt he was worth the investment. Perhaps, now he is fit and desperate to prove himself to the fans, we are about to see some game changing performances from the player.
Certainly Manchester United could use such a player right now. Someone to add defensive solidity to a team that certainly doesn’t lack attacking flair but has conceded some really soft goals this season. Someone to shield the back four and allow Micheal Carrick to express himself a little further forward. Indeed, if Manchester United opt for the seemingly sensible 4-2-3-1, with Mata, Rooney and Januzaj behind a striker, Fellaini could be the perfect defensive option alongside Carrick.
Fellaini has the ability to dominate football matches in the same way that Yaya Toure does for City. The technique is there, and will improve, if he can find his confidence.
Manchester United can’t employ Mata for Europe so perhaps Fellaini can become Moyes’s secret weapon and spend the rest of the season proving his worth.
Manchester United fans – is there still hope for Fellaini?
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